I Want a Seed Library

I work at a library and I garden regularly. In many cases these two things may seem mutually exclusive, however, there is a growing trend of public libraries throughout the country establishing “seed libraries.”

The concept is pretty straight forward and simple.  Patrons to the libraries can “check-out” seeds.  Of course, as the purpose of seeds is to plant them, the patron is not directly returning those specific seeds, but some models encourage the patrons who use the system to in tern save their own seeds and donate them for future loaning.

I think there is a lot to be said about this.  Plants, in general produce a lot of seeds per an individual of a species.  With proper care in regards to pollination, making sure not to collect from hybrids, and correct seed processing, a single plant can provide plenty of seeds for a large number of other people to plant in turn. If more people plant the seeds, and then in turn practice seed saving themselves, the quantity of viable seeds increases significantly.  Seeds are often not cheap, and providing free access to a variety of plant seeds thus can encourage more people to start growing things.  Additionally, I suspect that seed libraries could have a long term net benefit to preserving more heirloom varieties of plants, and possibly encouraging the development of new heirloom varieties.

This is something that I would love to see eventually at my library.  I have talked to some people with similar interest and hope that maybe in a few years this might be something we can try out.  There is a lot of rural farmland throughout Greenville county which could foster an interest.  Also, there is a definite growing movement of urban gardening and community gardens in the more developed areas of the county.  I think, that with the right approach, something like a seed library could do really well here.

So, we’ll see.  In the meantime, I need to work more on saving seeds well.

Some links:

http://www.seedlibrary.org/

http://newdream.s3.amazonaws.com/19/20/3/3063/webinar_slides_seed_library.pdf

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~ by Nathaniel on April 30, 2013.

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