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Seed libraries are seed sharing programs that help to keep the seeds in the hands of the people so they don’t have to depend on corporations to keep their gardens growing. Members receive seeds—a small amount, usually not enough for their whole garden—and grow them out to seed themselves. A portion of these saved seeds are donated back to the seed library to be shared with others. Gradually the library will build a supply of seeds that grow well in that specific community. It is all about locally grown and seeds are pretty good at adapting to local conditions. If they don’t adapt, they don’t thrive enough to be saved. All of this leads to resilient seeds and resilient communities.
I have written a book about seed libraries and other seed share programs. Seed Libraries and Other Means of Keeping Seeds in the Hands of the People
Public libraries have begun to add seeds to their offerings and you will find more seed libraries as part of public library programs than any other venue. I devote a chapter to the Role of Public Libraries. However, seed sharing can take place between friends, in informal gatherings, and as organized seed swaps. It is all in the book. Besides information of why you should save seeds, the book details how to go about organizing a seed library program and how to keep it going. Keeping it going is often the sticking point.
Seed Libraries has lots of ideas of how to celebrate seeds besides saving them and passing them on to others. You may have heard about some seed libraries being challenged by their state department of agriculture. Although it made the headlines, there are plenty of other seed libraries operating freely, so don’t let that deter your project. There are seed library forces at work to change the laws to exempt seed libraries from the laws that govern seed companies. Those laws are great to protect consumers from unscrupulous seed dealers, but seed libraries are something different entirely. If you suspect that your project will be challenged, or you really want to champion seed saving and sharing but are not ready to manage seeds, you will enjoy the ideas in the book that go beyond handling seeds.
Learn more about Seed Libraries and Other Means of Keeping Seeds in the Hands of the People at Homeplace Earth. This book doesn’t tell you how to save seeds, but it covers caring for seeds and making them available to others. We are Living in Exciting Times! (title of the last chapter) and have the opportunity to take an active part in the cultural shift happening in the world today. A new way of thinking and living is evolving right before our eyes. Seed libraries are part of that shift. Seed sharing programs are evolving so fast that it was hard to write about them. They will continue to change, but you have to begin somewhere. Begin with this book and become part of the transformation of our society.
Find out more about Cindy Conner and what she’s up to at Homeplace Earth.
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