Seeds for Food

Photo: Fresh food full of vitamins and mineral elements in the Sahara desert (Tindouf area, S.W. Algeria) grown from seeds collected by people in developed countries (UNICEF’s family garden and school garden project).


Let us banish hunger and poverty from the world!

In 2005 I was invited by UNICEF ALGERIA to work as an advisor for the project “Family and school gardens in the Saharawi refugee camps of South-East Algeria”.
Our preliminary study proved that we can teach families and school children in these Saharan refugee camps (most refugees being nomads and fishermen, with some having lived there for more than 30 years), how to build small gardens and to grow food for themselves.
We trained them to grow fruits and vegetables in this harsh environment with a minimum of water and fertilizer input. This was achieved with the use of a special water-stocking soil conditioner.
In this part of the Sahara (the area around the city of Tindouf) there are two seasons;
(1) The autumn-winter season (September–January), when vegetables such as lettuce, beets, carrots, onions and parsley can be grown.
(2) The spring-summer season (February–August), which is too hot for vegetables, but when a variety of tropical fruits such as melons, pumpkins, peppers, avocados, papayas and eggplants can grow.
With the abundance of space in these camps, the planning and layout of gardens is not an obstacle.  By using the water-stocking soil conditioner, a small amount of irrigation water suffices in enabling continuous plant growth. Unfortunately, we suffer from a lack of the seeds that are required to grow the fruit and vegetable plants.
Seeds for Food is not requesting any financial aid or assistance.
As the purchase of commercial seeds is too expensive, we ask that you send us the seeds from the fruits and the vegetables that you and your family use at home.
Simply follow the five steps listed below;
  1. Rinse the seeds with water.
  2. Allow the seeds to dry on a plate (not on a piece of paper as paper sticks to the seeds).
  3. When dry, sort the seeds by species and place them in an envelope.
  4. Label each envelope with it’s appropriate species name.
  5. Mail them to the address below.
Contact Information:
Mailing Address:
Professor Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM
Beeweg 36
B-9080 ZAFFELARE, Belgium

Telephone: +32 9 356 86 16
It is a matter of survival for these people to have at their disposal healthy and nutritious food. Growing their own crops will enable them to endure the hottest period of the year. A period when food is in short supply and little else is available to eat.
We call upon you to provide a hand-up to these people in an inexpensive and user-friendly manner.
Seeds for Food believes that this project can turn out to be a world changing initiative.  The citizens of the developed world, taking steps to enable self-reliance and sustainable development in the third world.
Please feel free to group your seeds with those of friends, neighbours, and classmates.
However small your contribution, it will help to improve the living conditions of the poor.
The more seeds we gather, the more families we can help!
Together, we will contribute in combating hunger, desertification and poverty!
Thank you very much!
(Translation by Josse GILLISJANS and Nik Rasula)