Seeds of Self Reliance: food security and self reliance in resource limited communities through gardening

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Seeds of Self Reliance

“Growing Community Through Gardening”

Our Name: Seeds of Self Reliance brings focus to seeds not only because they are a powerful and necessary resource but they are also symbols of hope, wonder, and connections with past generations. Our projects plant the seeds of self reliance to increase productivity with dignity, food security, community viability, and local empowerment. These attributes are all under siege due to the continued globalization and industrialization of agricultural and economic systems and this project is our way of bringing positive forces to build community and alleviate poverty in our world.

Mission Statement: Our mission is to promote food security and self reliance in resource limited communities through gardening. We partner with individuals, schools and organizations to develop community gardens and farms that build healthy, equitable food systems and contribute to social and economic development. We are committed to sustainable agricultural practices, social justice and the exchange of traditional and new knowledge across geographic and cultural boundaries.

Rationale: Simply put, gardening makes the world a better place! The increased well being, health, economic viability and ecological sustainability in communities with successful gardens is readily apparent. Access to land, water, seeds, knowledge and appropriate technologies may be all that a community group needs to increase their level of local empowerment and self-reliance. We are especially interested in partnering with groups that strive for increased gender equity and want to give all members a voice in decision-making.

How we do it: We help provide initial resources such as access to land, open pollinated seeds, appropriate technology ideas, and information on ecologically, economically and socially sound agricultural systems when a community group expresses a desire to improve their quality of life through gardening. We also train and bring students and volunteers to these communities to help ‘jumpstart’ projects and build cross-cultural understanding.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.