FAQ

FAQ

Who Are We?

What is the primary purpose of Hope Seeds?

To provide quality garden seed to a hungry world in the name of Christ!No man should go hungry for the lack of seed, and empowering people to grow their own food is a God-pleasing directive since Creation (Genesis 1:29).

How many years has Hope Seeds been in business, and is it a 501c3 organization?

Hope Seeds, Inc. was established as a 501c3 charitable company in 1999,founded in Florida by Mike and Jean Mueller. A seed warehouse and teaching campus (Show-Me Campus) has been established in Bertrand, Mo. on 2.7 acres of property purchased in 2011.

How many countries has Hope Seeds sent seed to?

Over 8 million packets of seed have been sent to 57 countries. Each year thelist of countries shipped to may change, averaging 14 countries each year. The amount of seed, and the urgency of the request, depends on two deciding factors – Emergency response or Development response. Emergency response is when we help after a disaster (natural or man-made) to help communities regain their agricultural programs by providing seed. Development response is when we partner with a ministry working in perennially poor nations.

Which countries is Hope Seeds most actively working in?

Haiti is our largest and most common recipient of seed and ag-support due to its long history of poverty and great need for development work. Several countries in eastern Africa are getting more seed and help each year – Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and east-Africa region are in need of more seed and development helps. We anticipate new opportunities in W.Africa, Central America, and Central Asia.

How many staff persons work for Hope Seeds?

Hope Seeds presently has three staff people – Executive Director, Program Manager, and Inventory Manager. Our structural chart allows for four more (when funding is available) – Ministry Development Manager, Research and Farm Manager, Children’s Ministry Manager, and Property Site Manager.

How can I help?

Pray, Encourage, and Rejoice! Pray for the success of each seed we send to fulfill its potential for which it was planted… to provide food and more seed. Pray for the sharing of the Gospel which happens with every shipment that it might take root and grow. Encourage Hope Seeds for its efforts through financial support now and with future planned gifts. Rejoice for the growth of the Church in any and every place as workers use seeds to helppeople come to know their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Almost 1 in 6 people in the world suffer from lack of proper food…25,000 die from HUNGER A DAY…1 every 6 SECONDS a child dies from hunger…add to 6 million a year.

How We Share God’s Love

How is the Gospel shared in the Hope Seeds ministry?

The Gospel Message of Jesus Christ is the single most important motivation of all we do at Hope Seeds. Sharing seed, knowledge, and agricultural materials are the key components of how we serve God and the hungry and hurting of our world at the same time. This work is summed up in our slogan – Plant a Seed! Feed a Soul!

Is Hope Seeds affiliated with one or more Christian denominations?

Hope Seeds is pleased to be part of ministries associated with many Christian denominations working within a very ecumenical network all around the world.

Why is Hope Seeds the best solution for solving world hunger?

In our humble opinion, providing seed and sharing Christ at the same time to hungry and hurting people helps fill the belly in several ways, and fills the heart with one Savior.

How is Hope Seeds changing the world one packet at a time?

How many seeds does it take to start a garden? One! For every person who plants a seed and begins a garden a world of potential grows… the way God designed it for mankind. Genesis 1:29 teaches that God gave mankind seed and seed-bearing plants for our food, and it remains so to this day. Every seed packet we send out has the potential to produce nutrition and sustenance for a person and his family. The person with no seed cannot change the world.

Why is sharing seed packets and agricultural education so important in solving world hunger issues, and how is this related to the goals of the Church to share the Gospel?

The Church has an awesome opportunity to help the world’s hungry better understand how God has provided the means for all people to be well fed. The basics of agriculture, especially the use of seed for food, draw many theological and spiritual images for people to grasp… just as Jesus did in many of His parables. As we serve people and their physical needs for food there is an immediate opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus and spiritual food.

How does the delivery of Hope Seeds packets change the lives of at risk populations in poor communities?

The limited or un-availability of quality garden seed in poor countries amplifies the hunger and nutrition problems they face. Giving a person good seed which is suited for their climate and culture allows them to work toward their own nutrition and welfare. Doing this work through the loving motivation of missionaries and mission teams who desire to share the Gospel Message allows for two encouragements to happen at the same time. The motivation to give people the Good News and quality seed gives the people hope – Plant a Seed! Feed a Soul!

Garden Seeds

Where does Hope Seeds get the seed from?

Three places – Purchase, Donation, and our own production. Hope Seeds is a licensed seed company in both Florida and Missouri, and we purchase seed from producers of seed in Colorado, California, and Idaho. We expect quality in germination and purity. Donated seed comes from larger farms or seed dealers who no longer need the seed they own, and not all seed donated is useful to our work so we use discretion and test the seed before we make it part of our inventory and program. Our own production of seed is of varieties which the commercial seed companies do not grow and/or of varieties which are at risk of extinction yet still useful to certain regions of the world (genetic preservation).

How does Hope Seeds decide what varieties of vegetables to send to each site in the many different countries?

Founders Mike and Jean Mueller have worked in agriculture and the vegetable seed industry for many years (over 80 years combined experience) and use this knowledge about variety selection and product development to customize reliable varieties for each shipment. After Hope Seeds receives the seed request we review the country and any comments from the missionary to customize the selection of varieties we provide.

How is Hope Seeds solution different than traditional feeding programs?

When a person is empowered to grow their own food they will not depend on someone for their daily meal… they will be stronger and self-reliant, elevating the sense of accomplishment and community development.

Agriculture

Does Hope Seeds send only open-pollinated varieties of seed? Why is it important for Hope Seeds to practice genetic preservation and seed saving?

The majority of what we send to people are open pollinated varieties of vegetables, but not exclusively. We do occasionally provide hybrids (developed from traditional means) which help solve unique problems (like a disease or insect tolerance). There are many reasons why people can and should save some of their own seed, but there are also many reasons why they cannot save all of their own seed. Not every species is easily saved in
the region it is grown. Some species need special environment conditions to produce any seed at all, and some environments are better for producing disease free quality seed. These are reasons why we work with the seed industry to acquire high quality seed. We do genetic preservation of selected varieties which offer regional superiority, and most of the varieties we preserve are not currently available within the seed trade. The savingof one’s own seed is a human dignity privilege which we teach and encourage.The personal or community seed bank assures people of the genetic diversity for future food crops as well as a sustainable nutrition source.

What is Hope Seeds position on genetically modified organisms
(GMO’s)?

There is great science in the field of agriculture toward increasing yields and improving quality of food grown. We do not carry inventory or ship GMO varieties. At present we can serve the needs with varieties bred and produced using traditional methods. Our efforts for Research and Development revolve around using the work done over the past 50 years, and since much of the world is still farming and gardening with methods over 50 years old we realize that sharing such knowledge with the world’s hungry is a real blessing and benefit.

What makes Hope Seeds different from other agricultural ministries or projects (ie: ECHO, Heifer Project, etc…)?

We collaborate with several other agricultural ministry projects but what sets Hope Seeds apart from them is our seed industry knowledge and distribution of our product primarily through Christian ministry outreach projects. We love to help and be involved in sharing the Gospel message with every shipment.

Education

What does Hope Seeds teach about commercial farming practices as compared to organic farming techniques?

Commercial Farming has fed the increased population of our world quite well, and if not for the advances in farming capacity there would be far more people starving or not even here because their parents would have died before they could have borne children. The capacity to farm has much to offer the world, as does the age old organic techniques. The qualifier for every place is not whether one should choose commercial practices over organic but what is economically sustainable and practical in every place while still caring for the earth and those who live there. We don’t think one technique is better than the other, but do believe that the practices one chooses to follow should take into consideration the health of the planet and its inhabitants.

What types of educational materials does Hope Seeds have available or plans for?

Seminars and conferences (both in the U.S. and overseas) help us to train adult workers as we network and involve persons from the field of agricultural work and university education. Filming and digital files can be shared at later times to help those workers who cannot attend a conference. For school and teachers who serve children we have vegetable flash cards, garden coloring book, and garden themed devotionals in several languages which can be sent digitally most anywhere in the world.

Does Hope Seeds teach the principles of seed saving and genetic preservation?

Teaching seed saving and genetic preservation are part of our seminars and conferences. There are many resources available to help people learn how to save seed, but what most miss is the hands-on participation. In addition we emphasize the importance of understanding quality of seed saved – pollination, purity, and storage. Parallel to these are the techniques used for product development which is integral for a comprehensive community development project.

How is education an integral part of the Hope Seeds program? Who is the target audience?

Hope Seeds education about gardening is targeted to three groups – The agricultural worker who desires to know more and we can help them grow in knowledge, normally through seminars and personal training sessions; The adult recipient who already grows a garden (or wants to) and by providing seed and more knowledge they are better served, via simple demonstrations and brief seminars by the ministry partners; and Children who need to know more about gardening so they can teach their own children one day, and we do this through Christian schools and teachers as we equip them with teaching tools . Serving the education to each group allows for more effective agricultural development and success.

Governance & Financial

Does Hope Seeds get reports and stories of success/failure from those who distribute or receive the seeds?

A report of the distribution of the seed packets and subsequent accomplishments from growing gardens are often sent to us as part of our application agreement (covenant) and we use these reports to evaluate progress or future needs. Also, excerpts from these reports are included in the quarterly newsletter sent to our donors and advocates. Often stories are shared via email and social networking.

How does Hope Seeds evaluate success or failure?

The reports from our partners about their distribution and follow up visits are the most useful tool we have, and they usually come in two parts – one about the distribution and several months later we hear about the growth and harvest of the gardens. Over the course of time, especially with the partners who repeatedly use seed as part of their ministry, we gain insight about the health and development of the communities being served.

Does Hope Seeds have a strategic plan to reduce dependency for more seed with the communities it works with?

Teaching and training agricultural workers how to save seed, do proper product development work, and better understanding about the seed industry will greatly help reduce the dependency for more gifts of seed. Each worker shall help train the community leaders he works with to better plan and prepare for the next year(s) needs.

Who pays for the seed and the programs of Hope Seeds?

You, the public, provide about 80% of our resources while the balance comes from foundations, schools, and private businesses.

How are donors and those served assured of good accountability practices?

Hope Seeds has retained the services of a highly regarded independent accounting firm in Bradenton, Fl. which monthly records the information supplied by our office for quarterly reports reviewed by the Executive Director and the elected Treasurer of the Board of Directors. Hope Seeds is an accredited member of ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) to further assure our donors of good and faithful use of all support and ministry expenditures.

A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.