Before we started The Mauro Seed Company, we thought that if we put seed in the right hands with the right training, we could get the most impact out of each dollar we gave. Its true that seed offers the greatest ability to feed the most people at the furthest distance at the lowest cost - period. The company was formed to become the engine that would financially scale our giving efforts.
We adapted the TOMS Shoes model to seed - for every pack of seed our customer bought, we would donate one to someone in need. This creates a clear link between a customer's purchase and downstream give. But TOMS and other BOGO companies have faced criticism for their business models. Despite the fact that we have way too many critics, they make a valid point. One time gifts often have negative and unintended consequences. They are temporary gifts that can contribute to a culture of dependency and are rarely sustainable.
Our approach is different. We partner with organizations that are getting their hands dirty teaching people the proper techniques to grow food to get the best harvest. They learn how to save seeds from their harvest so they can replant the next season. Open pollinated seed is inherently renewable and can multiply year after year - forever. The model is sustainable and provides food independence and security to families across generations.
Agriculture has fed way more people than any UN program. Empowering people to feed themselves is the best gift that one can give. Seed is at the heart of it and is the gift that keeps on giving.