How to Organize a Community Seed Swap

Host a seed swap in your area to connect gardeners and help everyone learn more about gardening in your region.


| Jan. 13, 2009



Seed Swaps

At local seed exchanges, you can give and receive hard-to-find and unusual garden seeds and plants, such as rare heirloom vegetables. You can also save money that you would have spent on more common, trusty-dusty plants like beefsteak tomatoes.


PHOTO: MATTHEW T. STALLBAUMER

Have you ever participated in a community seed swap? If not, you’re missing out on a great gardening resource — and a ton of fun, too. There are lots of benefits to swapping seeds with neighbors, and you can read more about them in my earlier article, Swap Seeds This Season.

So now, how about some step-by-step instructions for organizing a seed swap of your own? If you already know other gardeners in your area, you’re well on your way to setting up a fun event that will get everyone in your neighborhood started down the path to Master Gardener!

1. Choose a time and place. Depending on how many people you think may attend, it might be coziest to host the seed/plant swap in someone’s home or garden. (Reserve tables, chairs and tents, too, if necessary.) Or, if you expect to draw a larger crowd, look for free spaces you can reserve, such as a public library meeting room or a church basement.

2. Publicize your seed swap. A good place to start is by notifying local gardening groups and botanic gardens, and you can also reach interested people through classified ads, grocery cooperative newsletters, community bulletin boards and chamber of commerce calendars. We can help you publicize your seed swap, too! Learn about how we can email Mother Earth News readers in your area to notify them of your seed swap by going to Let Us Help You Organize a Community Seed Swap.

3. Invite speakers. Contact your local gardening groups to find experts who know how to save different kinds of seeds, and can get folks fired up about why to save and share seeds. Extension agents also can give great tips on gardening in your specific region. Another excellent discussion topic would be about how to start seeds and transplant new seedlings.

4. Request seed donations from local gardeners or seed companies in advance, to bolster the offerings that people will bring.

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kathy jentz
8/24/2012 1:11:43 PM

Washington Gardener Magazine hosts one on National Seed Swap Day here in Washington, DC (MD and VA) -- which is the last Saturday of January. Always a great crowd, terrific speakers, and wonderfully unique seed selection!


liam hancock
4/27/2012 1:24:56 AM

Seed swaps are the best! Few things come as close to matching the energy of a well organized swap, save maybe a barn raising or harvest festival. Here is one I just attended in the Sierras~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuMn3KeZm9A Doesn't it look fun?


coloradogreystar
2/1/2009 8:07:02 PM

I'm not sure if it counts, however, a few friends and I got together a year ago to peruse seed catalogs. We made a wish list and ordered. When the order came to my house, I called up the garden gang and we got together to divvy up the seeds. Remember to bring along envelopes or ziploc baggies, or you will have to use the restaurant's single sized sugar packets. (oops) We got together again last week and our group has grown by two! and we shared our experiences with growing the seeds. I brought along my fave Mother mags to share tips with too!






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