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2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Hummingbird Project

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, International, International Agricultural Development, International Relief, Urban & Community Economic Development

Mission: The Hummingbird Project works for social justice through ecological regeneration and community empowerment around the world.

Results: The Cleveland Seed Bank works with individuals, urban farmers, schools, and libraries we lead efforts to properly grow, save and share seeds. This alliance develops a resilient, locally adapted seed supply - building resilient and sustainable local food system. Internationally, THP focuses on two core projects. The Living Soil Saves Lives program provides training for rural Indian farmers on the soil food web and various composting techniques with the goal of assisting their transition back to natural, organic farming methods. And the Sustainable Schools initiative in Kenya provides education and infrastructure to impoverished schools, allowing students and communities to become working models for sustainability.

Target demographics: Grow Regenerative Communities

Direct beneficiaries per year: Distribute 25,000 packets of Seed through our 13 Seed Libraries.

Geographic areas served: Locally and Globally

Programs: The Hummingbird Project was inspired by the belief that a coalition of individuals, each working for positive change, can have a profound impact on the world. Founded in 2010, THP works for social justice through ecological regeneration and community empowerment initiatives. We envision a world in which people, inspired by nature, create and maintain healthy and abundant livelihoods that enhance biodiversity and regenerate healthy ecosystems.

Community Stories

162 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Last May I enjoyed attending the Spring Plant Sale w/ Tomato Monster Heirlooms! Choosing among the many varieties of heirlooms and meeting like-minded people was a delight.
I felt proud to be able to plant such healthy and unique varieties of tomatoes in my community garden this summer.
Recently I gathered some seed pods from my milkweed plants at my home and will be dropping them off at the seed collection point in my community.
The Hummingbird Project offers so many opportunities that are essential to gardeners and nature enthusiasts.

Jill Stephens F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The heirloom seeds produced beautiful, delicious and nutritious veggies in my urban backyard. The staff were super friendly and helpful. Can't say enough about this group!

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Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cleveland Food Bank provides free seeds to everyone in the city. Most of my seeds were heirlooms to boot. Due to the pandemic, the seeds were even delivered right to my door!

Gail M. J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had a fun time this summer growing heirloom tomatoes from my seeds from the seed bank. I shared too

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I was new to gardening, I couldn't believe that a program like the Cleveland Seed Bank actually existed. You mean I can get seeds ... for free? In the years I've been using the program I've been able to grow my own food and flowers, broadening my love for gardening and enabling me to connect with other gardeners in my community. I've started sharing my own seeds in exchange. I love the social ties this fosters almost as much as I love the delicious veggies and gorgeous flowers.

Angela G.5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This group really focuses on environmental impact and everyday actions.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Hummingbird Project was founded by two extraordinary people who realized that even small-scale actions could change the lives of individuals struggling to make a better life. For the first years of its existence, the Hummingbird Project was entirely self-funded by its founders. Whether the project involves educating farmers in India and Africa about low cost or no-cost ways to enhance productivity organically or fighting food insecurity by starting the Cleveland Seed Bank which maintains seed libraries in the Cleveland Public Library branches where anyone can take vegetable seeds for free, every penny donated to the Hummingbird Project goes directly toward helping people to help themselves. These guys are heroes!

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Donor

Rating: 5

I first encountered The Hummingbird project and its incredible founders, Chris Kennedy and Marilyn McHugh, during a permaculture design course in 2015. The story of the Project's origin and its subsequent work completely enthralled me. Over the years since then Chris and Marilyn have become close friends. As I've watched and learned from them I've seen the unswerving sense of commitment and personal dedication they bring to The Hummingbird Project and ancillary efforts like the Cleveland Seed Bank. In the early years, when grants were few and hard to come by, they routinely financed the Project and the Seed Bank out of their own pockets. The work they focus on is always geared toward providing healthful, sustainable life opportunities for those who often are forgotten or ignored. And through the Hummingbird Project they have quite literally changed the lives of people in small communities in Africa and India as well as those in urban "food deserts" in the US. The free Seed libraries they have created with Cleveland Public Library make organic heirloom vegetable seeds available to residents of Cleveland's inner city neighborhoods for free and have facilitated the formation of neighborhood community gardens and urban farms across the city. Through the classes and workshops they conduct in India with Dr. Vandana Shiva, they have trained hundreds of farmers in basic sustainable farming practices like composting and growing healthy soil through applying permaculture methods. My wife and I have been fortunate in being able to provide a small measure of financial support to the Hummingbird Project over the last few years and, quite frankly, we wish we were able to do more. We've never encountered a nonprofit more deserving of support where every single dollar they raise is directly used to better the lives of those in need.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great experience able to make a pre-order on their website, and pick up quickly right after.

The plants did great and I hope to order again.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family was able to use the seeds from the Cleveland Seed Bank to grow our own food in our garden. Seeds can be expensive, so we were very grateful for the seed donations. Also, it was genuinely fulfilling to grow heirloom plants and play our part in perpetuating the lineage of these seeds and contributing to the next generation

Linda Zolten W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Cleveland Seed Bank is so helpful and generous!! They provide free FREE organic seeds at a lot of public libraries and also in person and offers help in sowing them and advice when needed - Thank You!!!

martom

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Having watched the Hummingbird Project since its inception, I have been heartened to see it grow and serve. It's hard to believe its 13 seed libraries can now be found in 4 Ohio counties. As the largest seed saving organization in Ohio it sponsors and annual winter seed swap in January which my friends look forward to. Their work to promote local seed harvesting and planting has been extensive.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Cleveland Seed Bank holds many informative classes a year enabling residents to learn the best ways to gather and save seeds. It makes it easy to exchange seeds holding exchanges in various easily reachable locations.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing work, helping foster resiliency, independence, community and also the preservation of the environment & ecology.

Shari R.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cleveland Seed Bank makes gardening a possibility for me. I appreciate that they were able to remain operational during the pandemic, even if the library near me was no longer a pickup place.

Volunteer

Rating: 5


I love volunteering at the Seed Bank's seed exchange in the winter! So many people. So many smiles. Some come looking for treasures, difficult-to-find seeds for heirloom plants. Some are new to gardening and come seeking basic seeds for their starter gardens and advice. Winter still has a firm grip on Cleveland, but one comes away knowing Spring is around the corner.

Sally B.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Seed Exchange continued to operate throughout the pandemic. I received correspondences/information to keep the community informed. Early in the pandemic (before the shutdown) I was able to visit a seed exchange. I received heritage seeds from a library in the community this late Spring.

Kristine G.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have had a Cleveland Seed Bank Seed Library here at the West River Branch of the Elyria Public Library for at least four years - and it has been one of the best things we have ever done. So many of our patrons absolutely love it - plus we have had new patrons who came in because they heard we had it. We have put in our own garden, that we started with seeds from the CSB Seeds, and the produce has been given to patrons. Thanks to having a seed library we have run multiple gardening programs and it has made a very positive impact on our library. We all love having it here so much, and hope to continue having it for many years to come.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I work for Elyria Public Library and we have been a Cleveland Seed Bank library for the last few years, and it has been a wonderful collaboration from the start! The seeds have been a great draw for patrons and the CSB has been helpful with programming, finding sponsors, and providing seeds. Working with the CSB has been incredibly rewarding, and we have really enjoyed the experience. Every year we start a garden here at the library with their seeds and we give to patrons all the produce we harvest. They have been an invaluable resource and I hope to continue working with them for many more years.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Cleveland seed bank offers an amazing opportunity to try your hand at gardening with little risk; and their annual seed swap brings together an amazing community of talented of gardeners! So much of my inspiration and learning has been sparked by this organization.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I adore The Cleveland Seed Bank! I have used their Seed Library Program twice in the past two years to get seeds for gardening, and I have saved my own seeds from the fruits and veggies I grew. Their seed swaps and workshops are a great asset to our community. TCSB is a great resource for beginners to the world of gardening as well as veterans.

1 CoyoteHolmberg

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Fantastic community support with the Cleveland Seed Bank and Seed Swap initiative, including finding creative ways to keep the seed-sharing community active even through the teeth of the COVID lockdowns.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Hummingbird project and the Cleveland Seed bank are effective and inspiring. They actively brought together and built a regional community of urban, suburban, and rural gardeners and farmers for seed saving and knowledge sharing, including seed libraries, seed swaps, workshops, and outreach to ensure that people can be actively involved. Amazing people and an amazing organization.

1 Jonny Imerman     CLOZTALK    ImermanAngels

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GREAT mission, GREAT team! the CLOZTALK team is honored to call this org a partner & promote its good work!

CLOZTALK team
>> Jonny Imerman, co-founder

Myrna C.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great program to help everyone feel able to start growing from seed. Thankful for the free seeds, information on how to plant, harvest, and save seeds for future use. I would have never known about the beauty of the milkweed plant let alone grown any to help with the natural habitat for the monarch butterflies. Look forward to dropping my seeds off and what goodies you have next year.

Sarah L.14

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’ve gotten seeds from the Cleveland Seed Bank two years in a row and I love it! Free heirloom seeds you can pick up at a local library or have mailed. I’ve grow sunflowers, pumpkins, zucchini and a lot more!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Absolutely devoted to both Humanity and the Environment!!! This is an organization that produces results that benefits many communities. They are progressive, supportive and are visionary’s.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We received some seeds from the Cleveland Seed Bank (The Hummingbird Project is the parent company) in late spring. We planted zucchini, brussel sprouts, and sunflower seeds that I had received. This being our first year growing a garden we were not sure what to expect. In the end, we were extremely pleased with the results, in particular the sunflowers. They brought constant joy and smiles with theIt dazzling yellow heads attracting rarely seen golden finches and humming birds for us to enjoy! We are excited to expand our garden for next summer, thanks in large part to the world of gardening that Cleveland Seed Bank introduced us to. Thank you!

Brooke C.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

this was an awesome experience for myself and my special needs daughter, this was our first time planting so it was a learning experience, hopefully next year we can get some more seeds because we will be better prepared. thanks so much.

Marla C.1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a member of the Cleveland Seed Bank for several years now. This organization is wonderful in their drive and dedication to saving and sharing seeds with people of all walks of life in the Northeast Ohio area. Their annual seed swap is by far one of my most anticipated events. I stock my supply with just about all of the seeds I will grow for the coming spring. I love this opportunity and I love this organization. Great job!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Hummingbird Project facilitates several public initiatives I've taken advantage of, including their Seed Bank - I look forward to the Seed Bank launch every year and especially this past year, when garden centers were overwhelmed in the pandemic, the Seed Bank was a huge ally to food security in our city. I'm really proud to be part of a community that has an organization like the Hummingbird Project!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family Loves the Cleveland Seed Bank. They sent us free seeds monthly in the mail that we were able to plant in our new garden! We saved some seeds to plant next year. So excited.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to see this amazing group grow over the years. It was actually my introduction to the world of non-profit work, and I have been involved with them and other non-profits as I have realized the difference that can be made when a common goal for greater good is organized and acted upon.
The people that started it, along with so many other inspiring people along the way, have contributed to the success of THP, and continue to remind us to push ourselves to make the world a better place.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Come one Come ALL! Donation NOT required but Appreciated!
Love this Organization and share their mission of saving our heritage seeds.
I'm so glad I found them and have been spreading the word to everyone I know.
I believe that everyone should have an edible garden!
Even if it's just a little cherry tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket on your front porch balcony like I started with. Now I have dozens of different fruits, veggie plants and herbs.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have taken two of their workshops and have used their free seeds given away at our libraries. I now teach friends how to save seeds.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The heirloom seeds were beautifully packaged and all germinated! The variety chosen truly enhanced my garden this past season. I appreciate all the work behind the scenes that made this project a reality. To have such a mindful heirloom product delivered to my house during a pandemic, made my life that much safer and improved. I doubt I could have found better seeds anywhere this year.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful folk doing wonderful things for wildlife, humans, this planet, their community, plants and trees, and flutterbys!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cleveland Seed Bank is wonderful. They provided me with free seeds this past spring. It really helped me to ease my stress by planting after I lost my job due to the Covid. I planted basil and was able to share it with friends. I am very grateful for this program.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Cleveland Seed bank is amazing. We were able to select our own seeds, they shipped them so fast, and we had absolutely delicious food this summer. What a fantastic organization. Thank you.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I walked into the spring Seed Saver Event and was simply overwhelmed with seeds of all kinds and lovely folks to help explain how to plant and care for my selections. I am growing Loufa in my garden this year with seeds from Seed Saver. Isn't this a hoot! Who knew it was a plant.
I now look more carefully at dried veggies and plants to harvest seeds to plant next year and give away. I learned about how to do this with lively conversations and literature offered.

How cool to be part of a community that supports re growth!

Client Served

Rating: 3

Cleveland seed bank does a professional job of distributing seeds. Makes you interested in planting a garden in your yard.

Anastasia P.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Hummingbird Project's annual seed swap has fueled so many personal and community gardens and urban farms, including providing seeds for Trinity Cathedral's Urban Farm which raises food to feed hungry people in the city. In addition, this event brings growers of all types together to network & offers them access to people providing services and products to improve their harvest.

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cleveland Seed Bank's seed swaps provided our urban farm (Trinity Cathedral Urban Farm) with fuel for our harvest, all of which goes to feed hungry and homeless people in the urban core. This year, thanks to the plethora of radish seeds we got from them, we had a healthy harvest in the spring of 150 pounds, our largest raids harvest ever, and our fall harvest is just starting. We were also able to add a lot of diversity to our bean crop, thanks to their seeds.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Obtaining free seeds really helped our garden thrive this past summer! Thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I contacted The Cleveland Seed Bank (part of the Hummingbird Project) about giving them some milkweed pods I had harvested as I had many more pods/seeds than I could use. They were very responsive and followed up quickly on all of my questions and comments. They seemed very committed to their role in our community. I got the milkweed pods to them and feel the pods are in great hands and I am very thankful that they were there to take my seeds and feel confident they will be used to help the Monarch population.

Rosie Mary H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

ALWAYS EFFORTS TO EDUCATE AND FACILITATE
Good publicity
Available locations

Client Served

Rating: 5

As cancer patient it’s very necessary for me to have best, most nutritious food possible on my limited budget. Hummingbird Project’s Cleveland Seed Bank, provided the best organic seeds for my little organic vegetable garden, as well as, edible leaved and flowers organic nasturtiums for salads.
I wouldn’t have been able to have my organic garden this year without the Hummingbird Project and their Cleveland Seed Bank’s free organic seeds. All the more necessary during this pandemic! Thank You all very much.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have known Cleveland Seedbank since their start. They used to leave seed packets at book stores, coffee shops etc. Their relentless activism for their free distribution of heirloom seeds has made our beloved city of Cleveland a better place, without a doubt. I hope that they can continue their work and be an inspiration to other places and other peoples for generations to come.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The process of obtaining seeds was extremely easy. My plants turned out great! Can’t wait to do it again next year.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Cleveland seed bank is a true Cleveland treasure. Thanks for all that you do!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Enjoyed selecting, planting seeds and eating results

Client Served

Rating: 5

I first heard about the Cleveland Seed Bank at a free seminar they held at the library. The seed libraries are well put together and they adapted well in 2020 to follow pandemic safety guidelines.

Client Served

Rating: 5

CSB delivered great seeds for my garden. It encouraged me to try new vegetables and to start saving my own seeds.

Charles B.7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I enjoyed the selection of seeds at the Carnegie(Fulton) and the helpful librarians. Keep up the good work. I got many of the butterfly seeds and I hope you can keep them coming. It is a good idea. I also wonder if there are seeds you can plant between stones or ricks that can feed butterflies as well. Thank you.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have worked at the Cleveland Public Library for 5 years and we offer patrons free seeds through the Seed Bank. Patrons of all ages love it. The Hummingbird Project is a wonderful nonprofit!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I loved discovering new types of vegetables. And the cost is phenomenal—free. Great deal and great for the garden. Thanks for the opportunity.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing organization! I started borrowing seeds through their seed bank initiative this spring and it was such a cool experience. I learned so much, and look forward to participating more in the future.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I ordered organic seeds and they quickly arrived! Highly recommend supporting this group.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In the past, Shaker Heights Public Library has hosted a Seed Library provided by the Hummingbird Project and collaborated on related programming for our community. This year, our Library closed to the public for the pandemic a couple weeks before we were due to receive the seeds and make them available. While we and our patrons were disappointed to not be able to participate by having the seeds here and doing more programming, the Project kept us informed and we were able to point our patrons to the by-mail service they quickly set up. We are hoping to host the bank again in 2021. It has been a big hit with our community and has fit in well with our other community engagement activities.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family and I are so THANKFUL to have been introduced to the Seed Bank! We are learning how to plant and sustain our own garden.

Client Served

Rating: 5

What an amazing group! Anytime we can share and save seeds from plants that aren't GMO or modified any other way - we should take the opportunity. Everything from them grew well and thrived. I love the fact that we are keeping these plant lines strong and healthy - the way they are intended to grow.

Kim T.6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks to the seed bank and partnership with our local library, my family with two young children were able to plant a successful garden that we harvested this fall! We will be using the Seed Bank again next year to diversify our plants even further. Thank you!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

These seeds given to me by my Aunt, Sister Annemarie Kall SND, were a delightful addition to my backyard garden in Lakewood ,Ohio. The flowers were beautiful and prolific. The marigolds bloomed over and over and filled many vases with their late summer blooms. The edible flowers mixed with our ground cover alongside the house were breathtaking pops of color in an otherwise dull bed. The greens were harvested just this week with the cold snap and were delightful. This was a really fun and enjoyable project for our little backyard. Thank you! Loretta Caja

DavidStack

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cleveland Seed bank is such a great non-profit. They go above and beyond to educate the community about the importance of saving seeds. They also build strong community with their fun seed-swaps which I look forward to each year. Lastly, they give away free seeds which is such an amazing resource and so helpful and appreciated. I love the fact they have it tied in with local libraries as well. Thank you and keep up the great work!

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Cleveland Seed Bank is a great organization. The seed saving book they gave me has helped teach me the right way to save my own seeds. I also enjoy going to their yearly seed swap and have gotten many seeds from the seed bank they offer at my local library. Thank you for all that you do!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cleveland seed bank provided seeds for me to grow veggies in my garden!! I♥️the seed bank!

Christa E.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I enjoy learning about native plants and celebrating community at the seed swaps. During Covid the Seed Bank was very adaptive and sent people sent seeds to their homes. I grew zucchini thanks to the seeds they sent and shared bread and veggies with my neighbors and friends.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I went to my neighborhood public library and got some New England Pie Pumpkin seeds this past spring. The vines grew really well and flowered quickly. Tried the spinach and collard seeds, too. Unfortunately the ground hogs ate up my plants before they had a chance to thrive. Doggone ground hogs! The Cleveland Seed Bank, part of the Hummingbird Project is an excellent way for me to get seeds for my garden. I appreciate that I can get seeds when I go to the library! Actually got two pumpkins from the vines before the leaves succumbed to fungus. Next year I will try again with the pumpkin, collards and spinach. But this time I will arm myself with organic antifungal spray and a poultry fence to keep out those darned ground hogs!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cleveland Seed Bank has educated and served many residents in Cleveland. At a time when seed saving is important to learn and do on a community level more than ever, The seed bank has lead the way in my neighborhood. I attend the annual seed swap, participate in seed grow outs, pick up seeds at the library down the street, and have consulted with the staff about seeds in my garden. I am planning to host a seed saving workshop at the community garden I co manage in the future. They also host important events such as the seed school in a day event last week. I am lucky that their office is right down the street and I feel I can contact them about seed saving as the staff are supportive and friendly and enthusiastic about helping people save seeds for a future of seed/plant diversity, food security, and ultimately human and other species survival. This Non Profit is more than worthy!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have received free Heirloom seeds for 3 years in a row.
I believe the small amount of money saved ( by myself) , has motivated me to grow more.
Thank you

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I first met with the Hummingbird Project when my husband met Chris and Marilyn in a permaculture design course. Since then I have been a strong supporter of the work they do both locally and abroad to help bring understanding and enthusiasm to the work of sustaining food availability and plant diversity. Every year at their seed savers seed swap I am impressed by the number of young people who crowd the tables to take advantage of the huge variety of seeds they can add to their plots no matter where they garden. And the difference The Hummingbird Project has made in the lives of the people they work with overseas can't be overstated.