Tag Archives: Western Province

We built the resource garden & tree nursery!

We did it! Mukutele (Welcome in Silozi)

I arrived back home to Canada on May 1st. 16lbs lighter in weight but gained a ton in knowledge. You don’t realize how much you can learn about survival, compassion and hard work until you have seen it done with your own eyes. I spent 30 days in Zambia Africa and came home with a renewed zest for what SEEDS is trying to do and confidence that we can do it.

I stayed in a guest house ran by Sister Cathy of the Catholic Church of Zambia, met the famous UBC-O nurses from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada, who have been training and learning in the hospital in Mongu and met other NGO’s all trying to do their bit to help.

With such a need for every thing there it is hard not to give. I ran out of money so I ate like they ate (sparsely), I slept with a net over my bed, shared a room with spiders and cock roaches that would put Texas to shame and struggled to get things done in constant heat that burns.

I met the rest of Freddrick’s (our manager) amazing family whom I now call my own, met amazing farmers of all ages and played with the wonderful innocent children whom we are trying to help. We had a hard working crew, lead by Freddrick and I had my little followers who helped me clear up brush and plastic garbage and plant the vegetable garden and trees.

We built the resource garden for farmers complete with drip irrigation and the tree nursery. We even painted a big sign on the gate! I had to make green paint as I could only find black & white and even made my own paint brush out of a duck feather.

In three weeks time, we handed out vegetable seeds from Canada to 12 female and 23 male farmers who lived fairly close (within an hours bike ride) to our Resource Centre. We are tracking the numbers in their families and I guesstimate we provided additional food crops for 350 people . That means we are potentially helping 315 children have a better variety of vegetables.

These crops should harvest in July which is during their dry season when they need the food most. The rainy season starts in October/November and their normal harvest is in January/February/March. Therefore they have to make that harvest last until the next harvest. A long time!

We have computer software to track our results so I will know more as our Assistant Manager Matindo records our stats and reports back to me in Canada.

We even received our first lot of tree seeds that were handed in by a 67 year old female farmer who we then gave a second batch of seeds.

I saw a wild Lion on the side of the road while on the bus in Kafue National Park and the orphaned Elephants at Lilayi.

I am blessed to be able to do this, thanks to the people who have donated funds so far. I raised the $600.00 Canadian dollars which it cost to build the garden and tree nursery and the rest of the money was my own. We still have much more to do and I look forward to a seed full year.

I am saving seeds again and hope to send the next batch in July 2014 so if you could help in any way please go to http://www.sendseedstoafrica.org.

Thanks Joanne


We are off on a new adventure!

SEEDS logo white

Socio-Economic And Environmental Development Solutions(SEEDS)

Is a registered Canadian charity # 80157 2736 RR0001. Your contribution is helping SEEDS to operate a seed bank to help the needy become self-supporting in Zambia Africa.

What Exactly Do We Do at SEEDS?

We collect non-GMO vegetable seeds in Toronto Canada, from two catering companies, a banquet hall, a pizza parlor and an organic grocery store and then we dry and package them.

Then we send the vegetable seeds to the people of Zambia, Africa.


Who in exchange gather tree seeds for our local and fruit tree nursery. We plant those trees in communities and also sell to National & Private Game Parks to plant to feed Elephants. The trees will be planted by our local staff and through our Echo-tourism tree planting projects.

If you are interested in coming to Zambia in August 2015 for a week to plant trees and a week at the famous Victoria Falls in Livingstone, one of the 7 wonders of the world, email joanne@sendseedstoafrica.org and put eco-tourism in the subject line.


We are  currently sending seeds and “How to Grow” binders to connections in five cities in Zambia and have established relationships with governments and other echo-tourism establishments to provide trees to them.


Your contribution is helping SEEDS to operate a seed bank to help the needy become self-supporting in Zambia Africa. By providing the vegetable seeds, people are able to plant, grow, eat and save their own seed. They may sell the fruits of their labours or eat a healthier diet themselves.

It is through donations such as yours that SEEDS has sent almost 3.5 million seeds to Zambia.

We have assembled a team in Canada and Zambia whose sole vision is to protect the environment for the benefit of the public by conserving ecosystems or restoring ecosystems and bio-diversity on a long-term basis. We are helping people to grow a better variety of vegetables, earn a bit of extra income by selling the excess,  and selling trees to National & Private Game Parks to plant to feed Elephants and reforest local communities.

You are helping to raise funds, which help these programs immediately as we send vegetable seeds every two months. We provide “How to Grow” handouts for all of the seeds, both the seeds we send and the tree seeds they provide. It is our goal to grow trees for, food, shade, fuel, fertilizer and erosion control of the soil. We stress that the soil is the key to healthy plants so we teach “How to make a compost pit” which is so most important to replenish the soil.

Thus providing all the many benefits of trees and food to the marginalized peoples and elephants of Zambia.

The purpose of this web site is to provide environmental ideas, “How to Grow”instructions and hope to Zambian people.

I have purposely left the “How to Grow “instructions for our Western Climates in the instructions so anyone can grow any of the seeds listed on this site. Maybe you would like to start saving your own seed?

Give it a try and let us know how it goes!

Tip: For a more detailed version. Download the printer-friendly version here.

Thank you for your support!

Email us at:


Check us out on Facebook:


Watch some video’s on Youtube:


Send us a Tweet:


That is my new adventure!

The web site http://www.sendseedstoafrica.org is not quite finished yet but I expect to launch it towards the end of March 2014.

That is where you will find my new blog Seedful Sundays!

If you” click “to follow it you will get an email sent to you every time I write a blog.

We have many things in the works for 2014 and I hope you will join our adventure.

I am very excited as I was able to get a really good price on a flight to Zambia for the whole month of April in 2014.

I will be taking seeds and growing instructions to my connections  in Lusaka, Chipata, Kaoma, Mongu and Kalabo, Zambia.

I started packing in Dec.2013. I have a binder with planting and growing instructions for each area. I can’t wait.

I hope to build the enclosure for seedlings in the tree nursery, choose the sites to allow the trees to get big and set out the plan for the whole year. This photo is courtesy of Ripple Africa.org in Malawi. They have been a big help to me. Thank you Ripple Africa!

The following list is an example of the seeds I am sending to each of my four connections.

Note:  it is best to let seed pods dry completely on the plant before picking seeds

STORE BOUGHT- I bought packaged seeds at the end of our planting season last July 2013 for 25 cents per package. I emailed the company and they confirmed they do not carry GMO seeds so they are good to send.

1 pkg-Bush beans, will grow like a small bush

2 pkgs-Broccoli, likes cooler weather, plant in winter

2 pkgs-carrots, will go to seed second year in ground

2 pkgs-Cabbage, also likes cooler weather

2 pkgs cauliflower, also prefers cool weather

1 pkg-cayenne(hot) pepper, good to grow around garden to keep out animals

2 pkgs-radish, quick growing, eat when young so not too hot, but let some go to seed.

2 pkgs-spinach,

2 pkgs-lettuce

1 pkg -red bell pepper

2 pkgs-tomatoes

1pkg-cucumber, mound soil

2 pkgs-peas, plant near cauliflower as it likes nitrogen

1 pkg- Italian parsley, good for soups, will keep growing and go to seed if you just pick leaves

1 pkg-dill, good herb with fish or pickling vegetables, will also go to seed

HOME GROWN- from my garden or locally grown in Ontario where ever possible.

Amounts are approximate:

3000-Sweet pepper seeds, not sure if they will grow, please let me know

2 peach pits, worth a try as they grow in SA.

20 watermelon seeds, hard to get in Canada

150 butternut squash, likes cooler weather

200 pumpkin seeds

200 yellow zucchini

20 pole beans, will grow up 8 feet tall, see trellis building instructions

10 sunflower seeds, will also need support as grow tall

200 papaya, paw paw seeds, worth a try for future generations, plant many.

50 coriander, lovely herb with rice

500 Honey Dew melon- you must plant melons 11/2 miles from each other

500 Cantaloupe melon- as they will cross pollinate and seeds will not be the best.

10 pomegranate seeds

1000 feed corn- plant squash under corn as pests don’t like stepping on prickly squash leaves

IMG_1204So join me in 2014′ as the adventure propagates and grows to full bloom, as I hope your 2014 will as well.

All the best! and Thank you again for the support!

Love Joanne!

You may contact me at joanne@sendseedstoafrica.org.

Donate Through Paypal

If you wish to donate with your credit card through paypal you may do so by clicking here

paypal-donate (1)

Thank you and have a SEED FULL Day!

Seeds has Charitable Status-Wueeee!

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that I just found out yesterday morning that we have an official charitable number  801 572 736 RR0001 so we may issue tax receipts.

We are only issuing receipts for $15.00 and up at this time, but any amount you can spare is welcome.

To issue the receipt I will need your full name, including middle initial, address and amount  and I will send the receipts to you prior to the end of February 2014.

Socio-Economic And Environmental Development Solutions (SEEDS), is our legal name.

Donate Through Paypal

If you wish to donate with your credit card through paypal you may do so by clicking here

paypal-donate (1)

You may also mail a cheque to:

 Socio-Economic And Environmental Development Solutions (SEEDS)

4 Browning Ave.,

Toronto, On., M4K 1V7

Or if you prefer, you may go to any Bank Of Montreal and deposit directly into our non-profit Business Account with the following information:

Transit # 0417

Account # 8986-442


Canada Revenue Agency has started a temporary supplement with an added 25% to the rates used to calculate monetary donations up to $1000.00.

So if you have not donated in the past 5 years and claimed it on your income tax, nows the time!

Our web site is growing at the moment but I will let you know when it is in full bloom!


For now you may still find out what we are doing on the blog medwoman.wordpress.com. We presently have four locations to send seeds to in Africa and are working on sending them to our Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

If you have any questions you may email me and I will sprout up to get back to you


Wishing you all a very Berry Christmas and Seedy New Year!LOL.

If you have already donated, Many, Many thanks. May you Stay Blessed!

Please pass this to anyone you think may want to assist in preserving our seed diversity, trees and elephants in the world or help people less fortunate than ourselves!



Big Hug!

Thank you and have a SEED FULL Day!

Zambia garage Sale a huge success

What a great two days!

My friends Sabrina, Sorcha, Heather and Anne donated items to sell for The Silozi Seed Bank & Trees for Elephants.

We had great weather and considering it was a long week end we did very well.

We made $400.00 which will pay for the hall rental and bar tenders for the African dinner benefit on Sept 28,2013

The best part was the lemonade stand and cookie sale.

Thanks to all for a great success!


If you can spare $5.00 or $10.00 to donate I would really appreciate it. You may donate from your credit card via pay pal. Just click on the link below. Thank you so much!


IMG_1005 IMG_1007

Great team for the Silozi Seed bank


I just spoke to Fredrick on May 7,2013 and he has completed the compost pit. He had to purchase manure so hopefully this compost will be enough to last for this year. The 2 metre x 1 metre pit is supposed to fill 8000 small black polythene tubes. He will start filling in the planting tubes with tree seeds this June. He has collected some himself but hopefully The Silozi Seed bank will start functioning soon and the participants will hand in a good variety of tree seeds.

Fredrick, Car & I

Fredrick, Carl & I

I must say that something is guiding me through all of this. So many things have happened and are falling into place it is amazing.

So I am very excited about our team.

We are in the process of setting up the non-profit charitable organization.

It is called S.E.E.D.S. Inc. which stands for Socio-Economic and Environmental Development Solutions.

Officially you need 3 Directors to start a non profit, therefore we have:

President-Joanne Hutchinson, owner Med Management, author.

Secretary-Ellena Andoniou, Ph.D Candidate, Geography, Western University.

Treasurer-Sorcha Kellett, Nutritionist/Dietitian(member I.N.D.I.)

I have met some amazing people and hooked up with old acquaintances that are helping this quest move forward quite nicely.

By chance I met Ellena’s mother who works at the Bank of Montreal near us through Carl’s parents. I was opening a US bank account and told her about my projects re the environment ie. my polar bear book and The Silozi Seed bank and Trees for Elephants.

Also by chance I met Sonny Cho who went to school with Carl and his sister Michelle. Sonny now is a fund raiser for Centennial College and he was looking for a hospitality/trade school in Africa to send students too. He was helping me learn the ins and outs of fund raising and sent me a brochure from western University. Well guess who’s picture was in the brochure? Ellena.

So I went back to the BMO and gave Ellena’s mom my email address for Ellena and the rest is history.

Then I was walking back from the grocery store and ran into Sorcha.

I hired and trained Sorcha how to use Quickbooks at a doctors office I worked at many years ago. We chatted as we walked and had a meeting the next day and now she is on board. Sorcha is a Nutritionist/Dietitian so she will be a great help with these projects.

As you all know I am saving seeds along with 4 friends. I also have the Sobey’s  near me,  Ingo, my next door neighbour who is a chef. My biggst supporter so far has been Frakin Catering . Darryl who owns Frakin Catering has saved so many seeds for me he is proving to me that this can work.http://frakin.com/.

Remember how I said earlier that I am so privileged as this is all falling into place.

Ellena is a Global Health Conference Co-Ordinator for SASA Scientific Committee & Editorial Board. SASA stands for The Society for the Advancement of Science in Africa (SASA) is hosting it’s inaugural conference The Advancement of Science in Africa and seeks to engage the international scientific community in finding paths towards strengthening the scientific and technological capacities of communities, schools, and institutions in Africa.

SASA ( South African Science Association) asked Ellena to come and speak at this years conference on April 25,2013. This was amazing to me as it was a less expensive way to get some seeds to Africa so Ellena kindly mailed from South Africa, over 15,000 seeds to Fredrick on May1,2013.

I sent sweet peppers, pomegranate, sunflower, cherry tomatoe,…

It only cost Ellena $21.00 to send them from South Africa and I have yet to mail them from Toronto so we shall see what it costs when I do.

That should give him a good start at handing out 100 seeds to each person. Therefore he can give 150 families 100 seeds each to start this project.

I will keep you posted as to how it all goes. As of today he has not recieved them yet. The mail system is really slow there as Mongu is 640K from the capital city Lusaka and I had to mail them to The Country Lodge as it had a proper address.

Here is the process for a batch of 43 pepper seeds I received from Ingo, the chef who lives next door. I have determined that it is best to take the seeds off the stem asap and lay them on the parchment paper. They tend to get slymy if you wait too long.


drying on two sheets of parchment

drying on two sheets of parchment


ended up over 10,000 seeds when dried

ended up over 10,000 seeds when dried

Thank you for your donation everyone!

Compost making in a hot climate

I am so excited!

We are well under way in Zambia.

Fredrick has finally got the computer and printer set up. I sent him the money to buy a computer so I could send him articles and instructions of how to grow many things. It probably would have been less expensive and a newer computer if I had bought it here but it was going to cost me more to send it than purchasing the computer.

He has printed off the step by step instructions on how to make a compost pit in a hot climate like Zambia. They certainly don’t waste anything over there as all of the food scraps, if there are any, would go to the dogs, chickens, oxen or cattle.


This is a chicken proof stand to grow seedlings. Note the roof over head to give some relief from the hot sun and the chickens cannot steal the young plants.

This picture is compliments of Ripple Africa and so is the composting process which Fredrick is using in Zambia.


  • Compost: Compost needs to be made in April so that it is ready for tube filling in June

( compost can be ready for use in six weeks). Typically, compost should be made in pits

– a pit of 2 metres( 6 1/2 ft.)  long by 1 metre (3 ¼ ft) wide and I metre ( 3 ¼ ft) deep will produce enough compost for up to 8,000 small polythene tubes.

  • Compost making process: The first layer in the bottom of the pit is 10cm (4 inches) of forest or dambo soil. The second layer is 10cm (4 inches) of leaves or grass which should be compacted by walking on top of it. The third layer is 10 cm (4 inches) of manure. Except for the first layer, each layer should be watered with three watering cans of water before adding the next layer. These layers are then repeated in the same order until the pit is full. Normally. There will be three layers of each material in a 1 metre deep pit. The compost pit should be completed with a final 10cm (4inches) layer of soil which is compacted by walking on it, and the finished compost heap should be the same level as the surrounding ground.

Compost Layers

Final Layer- Dambo or forest soil 10cm
Manure 10cm
Leaves/grass 10cm
Dambo or forest soil 10cm
Manure 10cm
Leaves/grass 10cm
Dambo or forest soil 10cm
Manure 10cm
Leaves/grass 10 cm
Dambo or forest soil 10cm

Tube filling mix

Dambo soil 2 parts

Compost 2 parts

Sand 1 part

Compost provides the nutrients for the tree seedlings and vegetable seeds. This picture is also from Ripple Africa.org.


When the Road is done, they will come!

Here is a little video I have done from footage in Zambia when we were there in August 2012.

I was trying to relate this video to The Silozi Seed Bank and Trees for Elephants but was not thinking I would be making a short film when I was there so I am limited with my choice of footage.

Obviously the Elephants are my love and I think will keep tourism in Africa. If we can grow trees to sell to private and National parks, maybe we can save the Elephants, reforest the land, reduce erosion and create an income for the people.

There are no Elephants in Kalabo or Liuwa Plains National Park so it is a perfect place to grow the trees that Elephants love to eat. We will also grow chilies to sell as chilies are a deterrent to elephants raiding gardens.

Millions of acres of grasslands are burnt in Africa to kill ticks and encourage new growth for their cattle but it has devastating effects by putting carbon into the atmosphere and drying up the earth so natural watering holes are reduced. A more holistic approach is needed by mulching the grass and using it with cow manure to replenish the soil instead of burning off all of the goodness. It is hard work turning soil by hand to make a garden.

It is also necessary to plant gardens in areas close to water. People will walk miles to plant gardens and set up grass huts to live in while the gardens grow. Sweet potatoes grow well in Zambia.

This is a 1.17 minute piece of the road that took us 7 hours to cross from Mongu to Kalabo. We had a 4×4 CRV but it was low and we got stuck twice. Construction on this road started in 2011 and once completed will allow easier access from Mongu  to Kalabo and even on to Angola. This new traffic will increase trade and commerce for the area.

And finally the children. I hope that The Silozi Seed Bank will bring fresh vegetables to many villages so they will have better variety and nutrition for all.