SeedSolution.org started as a 4-H seed bank project of the West Milford 4-H Velveteen Farm Club by Murad Yassin. The idea was for the public to have a way to access vegetable seeds for free as a way to improve food security. Club-members cleaned the seeds and packaged them for the local library. The project grew and grew, and Murad sought help from local gardeners and seed companies. In 2013 the Ebola crisis broke out and we sent a 50 pound box of seeds to 4-H Liberia through a joint mission of Doctors Without Borders and Rotarians. Soon, others heard about our seed bank, and we were approached for more seeds both locally and abroad for other trips and missions. The Club President, Rebecca Byrne, asked that this project be adopted by the whole club. The project continued until the last club-member aged out of 4-H in Feb. 2019. At that point, the management had grown beyond what children could do, as by then, 2000 or more people more were eating from these seeds, and so Seed Solution was born. (Seedsolution.org) We ask gardeners to grow seed stock to put seeds directly into the hands of people who want to grow food anywhere we can, through mission trips, Rotarians, volunteers or other good deed doers willing to mule in the seed that might otherwise have been wasted. We hope to share our passion for gardening, nutrition and good food, and have our seeds open doors to education, health benefits, and agriculture science or business opportunities working with plants. We believe anyone can potentially learn to grow food, even if the only space available is a countertop or a pot on a terrace. Today, more than 10,000 people are eating from seeds salvaged and brought in to many countries by SeedSolution, and we distribute them locally as well. Some people around the world, such as the Maasai of Kenya, are not ready for seeds, we learned, but want to try so we try to help meet their needs until they can try to grow food themselves as well. Where can you bring them?
Bio of Mervet Yassin
Mervet Yassin got her start in business early on. In high school, she was a star student in the DECCA program. She went on to graduate from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a degree in Business and successfully ran a number of ventures before creating a franchise of organic health food stores called Green Life Market in New Jersey. She served as co-leader of the 4-H club for many years that helped her son create the seed bank in West Milford, New Jersey. She is a world traveler and has visited a number of countries that have broadened her perspective to helping people through health issues by letting food serve as medicine. She enjoys her grandchildren and gardening when she is not travelling.
Bio of Celeste Hampton
Celeste Hampton, a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, got a Master’s degree in Special Education from Ramapo College. Her senior project was in horticulture therapy for autistic students. She is a teacher, a 4-H Youth Development Leader for 12 years, has used both animal and plant agriculture principals as a means for teaching regular and Special Needs Youth, autistic students, and adults. Students in her 4-H Club represented 4-H principals at the local, county, and state levels, and several went on to serve on national committees. Seed Solution began when one student, an officer named Murad Yassin, salvaged seeds from the family business to build a seed bank at the township library. The project grew and grew and eventually addressed global needs with the onset of Ebola in Liberia, where Methodist missionaries and Doctors Without Borders delivered 50 pounds of seed to 4-H students to grow their own food and develop self sufficiency. After the 4-H club students aged out, Celeste continued the project of letting no good seed go to waste by creating Seed Solution to manage the distribution.
Bio of George Hampton
George Hampton, a retired machinist, went his own way and followed his dreams, landing an apprenticeship which lead to a 40-year career as a machinist, foreman for the last fifteen. Injuries from a motorcycle crash in his youth gave rise to mobility issues and forced his recent retirement, allowing him time to volunteer for The Seed Solution. George volunteered his farm for use by 4-H youth for many years, helping kids raise small heritage breed livestock animals and organic plants. His interests are varied, from restoring antique steam engines, to a life membership in the American Motorcycle Association as well as a life member of the NJ Association of Rifle and Pistol Clubs and member of the Cherry Ridge Range, where he built the pistol range benches. George married Celeste in 2009 and now has now turned his attention to being an advocate for Americans With Disabilities and Universal Design principals, (UDL) including people with learning or attention issues. He invented a potting bench/planter for use by handicapped and limited mobility individuals that was showcased at Ramapo College, with the hope that future school gardens everywhere will be designed with UDL principals in mind for maximize their use by all people, despite any limitations. George’s plans often include attempts to mechanize gardening as much as possible as he says, “It only gets harder from here.”
Bio of Yejin Nah
Yejin Nah is currently a student at Great Neck South High School in Long Island, New York. She puts importance in understanding and helping others, and learning different aspects of the world. Yejin values her family and friends, and aims to always give back to them. Yejin’s positive attitude and bright energy encourages others to work hard, and makes the atmosphere lively. She is a member of the New York State High School Mock Trial Program, Korean-Techno dance team, International Service Organization Key Club, and the school yearbook club. Yejin is passionate about improving the lives of others in every aspect. In her free time, she enjoys playing guitar, writing stories, and making scrapbooks.
Yejin has been participating in 4-H programs since 2017. She and her family have hosted fundraisers for the Seed Solution program as well as their own “Garden for Autism” project to help autistic students learn by engaging with plants and gardening. As a student ambassador, Yejin is in charge of Seed Solution’s Instagram page, organized and developed a major fundraiser with American Association of Korean Medicine, hosted fundraisers in her school with Key Club, contributed in Seed Solution’s promotional video, and plans to continue.
Bio of Grace Nah
Grace Nah is a student at Great Neck South High School in Long Island, New York. She values helping others and making lives better for everyone. She is an excellent leader and a friend who’s able to motivate people to reach their goals. She has strong bonds with her family and friends, and plans to continue spread kindness to everyone. Grace is the captain in Varsity cheerleading at her school and choreographs and directs her cheer team as well as two dance teams. She has huge interests in fashion and makeup and owns an artistic influencer page where she displays her unique style.
Grace Nah has been participating in 4-H programs since 2017. She and her family have hosted fundraisers for the Seed Solution program as well as their own “Garden for Autism” project to help autistic students learn by engaging with plants and gardening. As a student ambassador, Grace directed and participated the official promotional video on Seed Solution’s homepage and organized a huge, successful fundraiser with American Association of Korean Medicine.
Bio of Edward Nah
Edward Nah has been a member of the 4-H club since 2017. Together with his siblings, he has hosted fundraisers for Seed Solution, as well as developed their own “Garden for Autism” project to teach and engage with autistic students through gardening. As a student ambassador, he organized and presented in the 2022 fundraiser for Seed Solution with the American Association of Korean Medicine with his siblings.
Edward is currently an undergraduate student on a pre-med track in New York University. Valuing helping and being kind to others, he actively taught in the school tutoring club throughout his high school, even during the pandemic, he and his friends organized a summer tutoring program to provide free tutoring to elementary school kids in his town. In college, he found passion in biology and medicine and hopes to pursue a medical career. In his free time, he loves reading books and building mechanical keyboards.
Bio of Jon Carpenter
Jon is Tech Support for Seed Solution