Seeding hope: Local students work to feed hungry in Haiti

Thursday, December 6, 2012
Cape Christian School 8th grader Rachael Koehler, 14, left, 6th grader Olivia Carlson, 11, participated in a project, Hope Seeds, to send seeds to Haiti. (ADAM VOGLER)

The goal of Hope Seeds is to help eliminate world hunger. It is a non-profit organization that produces seeds of plants that grow in particular parts of the world that lack agricultural resources.

Students at Cape Christian School want to help: they recently gave to the organization's cause by sending packets of okra seeds to Haiti.

Shea Johnson, a staff member at Cape Christian School, said the connection between the organization and the school is that Mike Mueller, a farmer from St. Louis and co-founder and executive director of Hope Seeds, is the brother of Diane Wicker, the school's music teacher. This is the first year the school has helped Hope Seeds.

Johnson said an estimated 854 million people worldwide are malnourished, and at the same time research shows the world produces enough food for every person to eat 2,720 calories per day, but the food is not grown or distributed evenly.

Olivia Carlson, a 6th grader at Cape Christian School, helped package some of the seeds students sent to Haiti.

"I had fun [packaging the seeds]," Carlson said.

"I learned how so many kids around the world are not as lucky as we are to have food or go to the store and buy food. They have to get seeds and plant the seeds and grow their own food," she said.

Carlson said she liked the activity, adding, it was "very fun because it brought joy to my heart because the packages were going to kids who don't have food."

The students also participated in what they called a Pennies War in which they collected money for Hope Seeds, Johnson said. They raised more than $525 for the organization.

Hope Seeds manages research programs for improving food sources and acquiring or producing seed stock that will grow in particular parts of the world that lack agricultural resources. It also provides agricultural education and training. Its seeds go to a number of nations worldwide.

Mueller first started working with seeds at the Harris Moran Seed Company in Florida. After working there for several years, he began his own seed company, selling seed to farmers. After creating his company, Mueller donated extra shipments of used items to Haiti. The effort eventually led to the creation of Hope Seeds, Johnson said.

Mueller's Greenhouse in Bertrand, Mo., is the family farm where seeds are grown and the location of seed-storage warehouses.

About 140 Cape Christian students filled 2,000 packets of seed that will be sent to Haiti. Students also harvested nearly 20 pounds of okra.

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