The Seed Project
Mother Maryam Foundation is carrying on our ongoing project to provide vegetable seeds to farmers and women in Zawrat. The women in the village were particularly interested in vegetable and flower seeds to grow in their courtyards. Growing vegetables helps them to enhance the diets of their families. For the older women, growing vegetables enhances their diets and provides them with gifts for others in this society where hospitality and generosity are so important.
We took seeds to the village in our visits of February 2003 and December 2003. Austin Rotarians from a number of different clubs donated packets of seeds for the village. John Dromgool's Natural Gardener, an organic gardening center in Austin, donated seeds for the February trip. And Austin Sustainable Food Center helped us to get a good price for seeds that we purchased for the December trip. Seeds were also donated by Moore Than Feed store in Rockport Texas.
We gave seeds to families who asked us for them and to the older women that we knew needed them. On those trips, we left most of the seeds with the water project committee to distribute to the community. They were committed to see that the seeds are widely and fairly distributed, and that needy families interested in growing their own vegetables have priority.
In December 2005, we took a large amount of seeds donated by Botanical Interests Inc. of Brookfield CA. We gave seeds to the farmers to raise vegetables in their fields in addition to the traditional crops and to women to grow in the courtyards of their homes.
One woman distributed seeds among the women of the village. She learned the growing instructions for the different plants, wrote them in Arabic, and shared them with other women.
After a community event, the farmers divided seeds among themselves. One elderly farmer now grows squash, tomatoes, onions, melons and other produce in a part of his bean fields by the Nile. He shares the produce of his vegetable patch with his large extended family and other members of the community.
Every year we provide seeds to the Kolomiseed elementary school. One of the teachers supervises student gardening projects.
We hope to take more seeds to the village in December of 2008. If you want to help, contact us.