Photo obtained from Hampshire College news archives

A few months ago I stumbled across an article talking about seed libraries. After reading about them, I decided that my community could very much benefit from having a seed library. After all, there is quite a large population of master gardeners in the area, several community gardens, and also, unfortunately, a large number of impoverished families. By having a seed library, we could potentially be hitting a wide range of community members that might benefit from the resource!

You might be asking yourself what a seed library is.

If you’re not familiar with the premise of seed libraries, the concept is to have a collection of various seeds, such as herbs, vegetables, or flowers, at a centralized location, like a library. A library patron can then borrow some seeds to plant on his or her own with the idea that after seeds grow and the fruit is harvested the patron will preserve some seeds and use those to replenish the amount borrowed from the seed library.

Let me tell you why this is awesome.

Have you ever bought a packet of seeds and thought to yourself “how am I ever going to plant all of these before they expire?” The beauty of seed libraries is that patrons can donate whatever seeds they want or have leftovers of. Additionally, this may also mean that you don’t have to go and shell out several dollars for hundreds of seeds that you only wanted a few in the first place of. Your fellow gardeners may have already donated some of those very seeds that your heart desired! What does this mean? Less spending, more growing!

Not only can seed libraries benefit you as far as saving you money on seeds and introducing you to new varieties, it can also help those whom are less fortunate. The particular area that I currently reside in isn’t the most well-off community–in fact, many of the residents need all of the help they can get. Thus, by getting a seed library started here, we could help those in need save money on food, as well as helping make their diets a little bit more healthy.

How can you get started?

In the midst of my own enthusiasm, I reached out to the county library system and met with one of the head officials to discuss a plan. Together, we came up with a list of several city departments and resources we wanted to get in touch with to help support the seed library. Here are a few that were discussed:

  • The Soil and Water Conservation Department (to host workshops)
  • The Recycling Department (to host workshops)
  • The master gardeners society (master gardeners often have to dedicate a certain amount of hours in partial fulfillment of their certifications. As such, by hosting workshops and volunteering at the seed library, master gardeners can cross some hours off, while helping the seed library–it’s a win-win situation!)
  • The community garden (for seed donations and awareness)

As of right now, the officials of the county library are on board! I’ll keep you all updated as this project progresses!

4 thoughts on “Seed Libraries: The Free Seed Resource

  1. I love our local seed library. It started with just a handful of people exchanging seeds 3 years ago, but now it also has an outreach system. Our community gardens help teach new gardeners what all is involved in starting & caring for their own private garden.

    It’s been amazing to watch how it continues to grow. Our food bank refers people to the seed bank and community gardens. We teach them and then they ship their excess harvest back to the food bank. Last year the program brought almost 500lbs of fresh produce into the food bank. It all started with a simple seed library.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is exactly what I hope to achieve with the seed library that I’m starting in my little town! Thanks for the post–it’s comments like this that make me really excited about the difference these little seeds can make in peoples’ lives.


    • I wasn’t sure it would take off but it has. Last year we actually started an equipment ‘library’ with donated tillers and trimmers that allowed beginners to start without having to buy or rent them. So far it’s been successful! Repairs get covered by donations and extra produce.

      Good luck with your library! If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.


      • That’s amazing and something that I would love to incorporate into the seed library here!

        Thank you so much for your offer–I will probably take you up on it at some point to pick your brain!


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