Seed Lending Library

aliweed(5 (Iowa))April 12, 2012

I thought this project might be of interest to some of you. We have starting a seed lending library at our town's public library. We requested heirloom seed donations from seed companies (they were so generous) and allow library patrons to check out and donate seeds.

Seeds are borrowed at the beginning of the season, grown out, and a portion of the new crop of seeds can be returned to the library for other community members to use. Seeds are free to borrow and while you are encouraged to save seed to donate back, there is no penalty for not doing so.

I am hoping that we will get a good response from community members in out town of 1800 or so people. We are modeling the project after one in Richmond, CA (RichmondGrows).

I don't know if I can post links or not, but we have pictures and information on our facebook page (search for Ely Seed Lending Library).

Does anyone else have anything like this in their communities? I would be curious to see how it works and how much participation it gets.


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What an awesome idea. I have never heard of such a thing. Going to see if I can find your FB page.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:46PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

I can see people taking advantage of free seeds and never donating any back..I don't see how this could work. Why not just donate the seeds to BakeMom and she will see that newbies get some seeds to start out with.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 10:49PM
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Sounds great, anything is worth a try. Hope it works out well for you. Probably will lose quite a few but your regular customers will have a local library to go for their seeds. There are still many who love to share and will be more than glad it is there. At the same time it will tell more about the type of people you live with there. I remember quite a few years back I lived in the Denver area and I ran across a sale on Burpee seeds for 5 cents a pack. Not having much money I did manage to buy $25 worth and took what I was not going to plant to Church. I offered them for the same price I paid for them. Well it got sent around and I lost sight of my seeds. At the end of our meeting someone brought me my sack back with the money in the bag. I was kind of worry as I could not afford to give them away but to my surprise there were seeds left over not counting the seeds I kept for my own use and there was well over $25 in the sack so I ended up getting my seeds for free plus having more to plant later. So no one knows if it will work out it will just depend on if they are real gardeners or? I wish you well. :)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 4:04PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Los Angeles has one also. Although I haven't had a chance to check it out yet.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:40PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Los Angeles has one also. Although I haven't had a chance to check it out yet.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 12:46AM
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We started a living seed bank here in Northern Humboldt County, Seeds For Life a Living Seed Bank. after researching all the current seed libraries and banks we decided to create a living seed bank...where we train seed stewards to breed and save locally adapted seed. They keep some for replanting so they can continue to breed for improvement and turn some over to the bank where we will give it out to anyone who wants it through a seed sharing program. Check us out on Face Book!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 4:45PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

What a great idea. I would think that people who are interested in something like that would take the responsibility of returning the seeds pretty seriously. Hope it works out.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 8:09AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Funny you should mention this, my town library has a talk scheduled for November 10th called "What is a Seed Lending Library?" I will definitely plan to attend the talk and most likely will participate. I love to save seed, do some seed trades with GW members, and also offer seeds for postage on the Seed Exchange forum every winter.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:03PM
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I really hope that something like this works. I would think it'd be best to give a small pamplet with the seeds, maybe a pdf or something, that teaches the best way to save the seed that they're "checking out".

You could also request information about the seeds, time it takes them to grow, etc, pictures. It could end up pretty quicking becoming a wealth of knowledge if people have the interest.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 10:11PM
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I use a software program to hold all my finds on any seed or plant I enjoy. When I find information here or else where on the web I store the information on the program which I can find anytime by name or type, etc. When I depend on others saving information that is fine but for me it is much harder to research. So I do thank everyone for their efforts but I like to also have a central location on my computer where it is much easier to find at my finger tips. They do sell seeds saver books on a very wide range of plants. You could check for information here on the book link. A lot of information can be found on the web but then it may not have the information on the one seed you would like to save. That is when I come here to look and save that information on my computer for later reference.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 10:13AM
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