Planting the
seeds of

Our Mission is...

… to provide rural families in Guatemala with coaching and technical assistance in nutrition and food security, home production of plant and

Our Vision is...

… to create a model for integrated rural community development which can be successfully applied, given proper attention to local environmental, cultural and community factors, in other impoverished rural communities.

Our guiding Values are…

  1. Community development occurs when people acquire the technical skills needed for success, learn to work together, and identify opportunities for their own future.
  2. Our role starts with understanding the needs and resources of the community and integrating local culture into our interactions with the families.

Seeds Field Team:

Cesar Armando Astorga Garcia –
Project Leader
Clelia Socorro Ixquiatap Garcia –
Project Coordination & Sr. Extensionist
Ingrid Elizabeth Gómez Vásquez –
Community Leader & Sr. Extensionist

Seeds Field Team:

Felix Timoteo Icó Chocoy –
Extensionist in Training
Boris Misael Icó Chocoy –
Extensionist in Training
Julio Bladimiro Tzic Garcia –
Extensionist in Training

The Founding Members

In 2004, Suzanne and Earl de Berge volunteered at a Pre-Classic Maya site under Chocolá. Working side by side with people from the modern-day village kindled their interest in helping their new friends have healthier and more prosperous lives. Joined by other archaeology volunteers, they formed Seeds for a Future in 2007.
Our core concept: to form a modest-sized program to explore and develop new, effective and practical strategies for addressing the problem of chronic malnutrition of mothers and their children among poor rural

The Board

Our board is made up of a number of distinguished businesspeople. We can’t thank them enough for their contributions.

Can development programs based on local needs help rural families work together, join with other families and create a thriving, self-sufficient community of people helping one another?

The answer is yes.
But not without a helping hand!

animal foods, diversification of income crops and improved farming techniques.

We help people to help themselves!

Based on delivering coaching to families in nutrition, food security, crop diversity, environmental preservation and micro-entrepreneurship, our model also fosters the development of “home-grown” leadership, to promote integration of the values and information throughout the community.

Effective community develop- ment requires sensitivity to culture and environment.

  1. Each person has dignity and is to be treated with respect, and we will work to foster the rights of marginalized groups and their full access to learning and opportunity.
  2. Our activities will neither promote nor denigrate any religion or political group.

Growing by learning for life!

Julio Cesar Lopez Yax –
Sr. Extensionist
Moisés Pastor Morales –
Technology Manager &
Computer Teacher

Dedicated to their community!

Thomas Hartig –
Communications Officer
Bernada Natareno Huertas –
Community Leader

Sharing knowledge and skills!

families -- strategies that could be taught and applied at the household level, and after field testing, could be replicated in other communities.

“We knew from the start that we wanted a program that would help families help themselves –help them achieve the skills and confidence to build their own future and create success through knowledge sharing and education.”
-- Suzanne de Berge

Encouraging Leadership is our responsibility!

and learning from
many perspectives!

Our Integrated Approach

Understanding the Community

Our integrated approach WORKS!

The INCAP Study

An independent three-year scientific study conducted by the respected Institute for Nutrition in Central America and Panama (INCAP), funded by the Nestlé Foundation of Switzerland, revealed that Seeds for a

Our first steps were to LISTEN and LEARN. After a year of community meetings and small “get to know you” projects, we could see that an Integrated approach was required. Just as food security, nutrition, family income and health do not occur independently, our program approaches these sectors as parts of a whole.

While our main focus is on Nutrition and Food Security, we also work to foster improvements in family income, and we offer additional learning opportunities via our Community Learning Center.

The exchange of knowledge and clever use of resources produce success!

Our approach takes rural families through a 2-year program to help them improve their health and living conditions by combining home garden plant and animal production with knowledge of nutrition, kitchen hygiene and healthy diets, especially for young children. With weekly coaching and mentoring, participating families become self-sufficient in growing food, and independent leaders in their communities.

For more detail, read our Rural Program Report

Our method helps participants change their own future for the better!

Future’s strategies and methods produce positive improvements in the health of participating mothers and babies, as seen in measures that assess nutrition status. Seeds for a Future is helping families build a better and healthier future for themselves through improved food security and nutrition, enhanced learning opportunities and new sources of income.

Research results show Seeds’ program improves nutrition.

More Food. Better Nutrition

More nutritious food. A better future!

Malnutrition and Food Insecurity create a vicious cycle of poverty from which it is very difficult to emerge. To help fight these twin evils, Seeds for a Future’s primary focus is helping rural families ensure their access to enough nutrition-packed food, so children and adults can be strong and healthy.

Casa-Granja Concept

The practical goal of the “Casa-Granja” or Backyard Farm concept is to share skills and techniques to secure access to sufficient nutritious food. We coach families in:

  • understanding nutrition needs, especially for children, and using the foods they have grown in familiar recipes.
  • maintaining hygienic conditions and procedures in kitchens and food preparation with low-tech methods.
  • managing household and garden wastes into compost and repurposed materials.

Strategies for food sustainability

The basic Casa-Granja strategies feature 2 years of intensive support for rural families via weekly coaching and regular workshops on how to:

  • organize their patio space to maximize production of high-nutrition foods
  • successfully raise nutritious vegetables and fruits, as well as small animals for protein
  • use composting, permaculture and organic gardening techniques, for safer foods
  • understand nutrition needs and how to enrich traditional meals
  • keep their kitchen and food preparation areas clean and safe from pathogens

A Success Story

“Semillas Para El Futuro has been a hope for my life -- my baby was dying, his hair was falling out. They helped me with a blood test, they taught me what to give him to eat and how to prepare it. Now, thank God my baby is walking and smiling. The best thing is that together with my daughters he is learning to plant food.”
Antonia Marleni Perez Pumar

$ 50

Provide a family with “starter” animals

$ 175

Train a family in growing a Nutrition Garden

Your donation supports our Backyard Farm Team to teach rural families what good nutrition means for themselves and their children, and successful ways to garden and raise animals which will thrive in their area. Over 1400 families are already improving their nutrition and health, and new families join the program every month. THANK YOU!

Change the Crop. Improve Household Income

Diversify crops for a better future!

The #1 crop in Guatemala – Coffee! But with just one harvest annually and market price fluctuations, coffee families often suffer. To increase and stabilize household income, we coach farmers in:

  • crop diversification by adding cacao, fruit and lumber trees and other locally popular food plants
  • improved farming methods, including soil health, pruning techniques and organic fertilization and pest control
  • developing micro-businesses based on locally popular agricultural products
The Cacao Pioneers

The Cacao Pioneers

Chocolá is ideal for growing cacao – the primary ingredient in chocolate. Several years ago, Seeds started the Cacao Pioneers in Chocolá and helped them transform portions of their coffee plots by adding cacao and a diversified array of banana, papaya and native shade trees that can be harvested for lumber. By now, the Pioneers and other farmers have planted over 15,000 cacao and other valuable trees. The first cacao plants are now mature enough to produce good crops, which are being turned into artisanal chocolate products for the local market.

$ 100

Coach farmers in micro-business start-up

$ 175

Train a family on intercropping and crop transition strategies

Your donation will provide in-depth coaching in diversifying their plots, intercropping with existing coffee bushes, environmental awareness, better understanding of fertilization and plant management for better yield, as well as in how to build a micro-business for marketing their new crops.

Enhanced Learning Opportunities

Expanding minds. And opportunities!

We work to provide learning in an atmosphere of support and coaching which helps embed the new skills and knowledge into the behavior and daily activities of participants. As part of renewing our focus, Seeds for a Future is transferring its computer lab staff, assets including the RACHEL System a massive electronic library to our sister non-profit, Amigos de Chocolá.   Amigos´ main activity is providing scholarships, and in recent years supporting computer education for local high school students in Seeds´ RIESTER Computer Learning Center. The Amigos group is exited to expand its education impact to 100+ 6th graders with free computer class in our RIESTER Computer Lab.

Learning For a Better Future

Learning For a Better Future.

The value of learning is embedded in all our program activities, but we focus most strongly on enhanced learning opportunities for children and young people. The students who come for our weekly scheduled classes also come on their own, to play and learn in a friendly, safe environment. Amigos´ knowledge and experience will enhance the learning opportunities offered at the Center and these young people will become a true resource for community development.

Sharing knowledge and expertise

Sharing knowledge and expertise.

Over the years, the Seeds Field Team has created guides to Nutritional Plants, How to Raise Rabbits, Basic Foods for Health, recipe books and many other learning resources. In 2017 they completed two detailed and fully-illustrated publications on our methods and strategies, Libro de Desarrollo (Development Book) and Libro de los Huertos y Casa Granja (Gardens and Back-yard Farms). These are meant to serve as resources for other groups which want to implement a program similar to our in their own area. Complete list of Seeds books

$ 35

Provide supplies for a 6th grade computer student

$ 100

Provide maintenance of 15 computers and equipment

Your donation will support the operation and expansion of our Learning Center by helping us pay for teachers, computer maintenance, and educational materials. But most important, your donation will ensure that everyone in the community has an opportunity to learn something of interest to them, even in a remote village in rural Guatemala.

Community Building

Chocolá, the first community

Seeds For a Future began work in the agricultural community of Chocolá, located on the Pacific piedmont of Guatemala, one of the poorest countries in Latin America. The Chocolá region is a microcosm of the country as a whole, with a rich history from the great Maya civilization, through the reign of the Spanish, the 30+ years of civil war, to the modern history of governmental disinterest and neglect. The region has many natural resources – good soil, abundant sun and water – but its best resource is its people: hard-working families determined to make a better life for themselves and their children.

Learning and Working Together

Learning and Working Together

Communities develop as people acquire the technical skills needed for success, identify opportunities for their own future, and learn to work together. By supporting each other to build a better life, individuals and families realize that this means a better life for all. The key to this process is education, not necessarily in a formal sense, but a practical, learning-by-doing education that helps people learn life-long skills and gain the confidence needed to lead others to start their own self-help activities and to work toward common goals.

Expansion and Outreach

Expansion and Outreach

Chocolá is where we first began coaching rural families and our office and Learning Center are there, but we now have participating families in Santo Tomás, Samayac, San Pablo Jocopilas, San Felipe and many other villages. Each has at least one Demonstration Center, often at the home of an experienced family. We have Demonstration Centers at 3 restaurants and conference centers in larger towns, where the public can learn about Seeds’ successful Casa-Granja concept. Our trained local team has helped more than 1400 families build better lives, and we are now teaching other non-profit groups how to employ Seeds’ methods with families in their own areas.

Elderly Care Center

Elderly Care Center

An exciting new avenue of work was opened for us this past spring at Mis Años Dorados (My Golden Years), a day center for the elderly in the town of Samayac. On the grounds of the day center, we helped install a nutrition garden. The elderly guests are thrilled to care for the garden and contribute to the nutrition of meals at the center – sometimes the only meals they may have all day. In the coming months, we hope to help them install coops for raising poultry for eggs and meat.

$ 75

Expenses for presentations and consulting at nearby municipalities

$ 150

Improved nutrition for poor elders

Your donation will help us continue to develop new aspects of our integrated program and add new families and communities. And we will always emphasize sharing knowledge and skills with extended family and neighbors, thus creating an engine for home-grown community development.

Get Involved


YOUR DONATION IS VITAL!   Our method relies on a well-trained local Field Team coaching, training and sharing knowledge with participating families

Start a Fundraiser

YOU can start YOUR own fundraising campaign for our cause, inviting your friends and family to donate for rural families in Guatemala.

– in their homes, in their gardens and chicken coops and at their cash-crop parcels. Every penny of your contribution to Seeds for a Future goes directly to program costs – to pay Team salaries or to sponsor a rural family.

Your generous contribution also supports our other important activities -- the Community Learning Center, the village Demonstration Centers, the Elder Center and many others.

Our goal is to raise $88,600 in 2019 and $91,000 in 2020 to support our key initiatives!

Pledge your birthday and ask for donations instead of gifts! Ask for donations at Christmas or spread the word on commonly celebrated international days like Giving Tuesday, International Day of Families May 15th, World Humanitarian Day August 19th, International Day of Rural Women October 15th, World Food Day October 16th, International Day of the Eradication of Poverty October 17th and many others during the year.

Use our manual to get started today!

Global Giving provides an easy tool to set up YOUR fundraising account.

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