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A while back, I wrote about my initiative of starting a seed library in the town I currently reside in. This post is intended to update you all on the progress I’ve made so far.

Since my last post on seed libraries, I had two meetings with the assistant director of the county’s library system, one of which also included two leaders in the community whom are avid gardeners.

I am very proud to be able to say that this project has received support from key personnel and is on track to launch in the spring of 2016!

While it seems like launch day is quite a long way from now (early winter 2014), we agreed that we’d like this initiative to start off with a bang. In order to do so, we’ll need lots of time to sufficiently prepare materials, obtain grants, and most importantly, seeds!

Prep Work

Preparing for the launch of a seed library is incredibly exciting. In case you’re interested in starting a seed library in your town, here are some of the things you’ll have to think about as far as logistics and budgeting go:

  • Where will you get the start-up funds (if needed) for envelopes, seed storage, handouts, and seeds?
  • What will you store the seeds in?
  • Will the temperature in the storage area be sufficient for storing seeds?
  • Will the humidity in the storage area be sufficient for storing seeds?

Obtaining Seeds

One of the most expensive items on our seed library budget is money allocated for seeds. While we are hoping that we’ll get most of our seeds through donations, we recognized that we still have to take into consideration the “what if” factor–meaning, “what if we can’t get any donations?”

This is why it’s important to have a backup plan. In the case that you or the parties interested in starting a seed library are unable to obtain seed donations, you should have some money set aside to pay for start-up seeds. If you don’t use these funds to purchase seeds directly, this money is also useful in obtaining seed donations. Many organizations that agree to donate seeds ask for shipping and handling reimbursement for seed donations. As shipping and handling costs can range a great deal, it might be a good idea to have at least $200 set aside for these costs.

Start-Up Funds for Other Materials

After writing down the list of all of the materials we would need to get started, I asked myself how we were going to get the money to pay for all of the supplies. In order to pay for several reams of copy paper, envelopes, labels, a seed storage cabinet, binders, dividers, ink, and seeds/shipping costs, we’d need a few thousand dollars the first year–worst case scenario.

This is when I decided that grants would have to be my new best friend. For those of you who don’t know, grants are basically a sum of money donated by an organization for some particular purpose. Thus, if you’re looking for grants for a seed library, you should look for grants or organizations that want to support gardening, agriculture, or healthy lifestyle initiatives.

Luckily, I have some grant writing experience under my belt already and have already identified potential organizations that looked like they might support my cause. I’ve currently narrowed it down to three I’ve found online, as well as one local organization, and two individuals within the community. I’ll be working on the proposals within the next few months and give you all an update when I hear back.

My First Donor!

Another amazing thing that happened to me this past week was receiving my very first seed donation. Nan Fischer of Sweetly Seeds, and a distributor of Renee’s Garden Seeds, and I corresponded last week about seed donations. To my delight, she had some seeds on hand that she was happy to donate to my cause provided I reimburse her for shipping and handling.

Just a few days after our correspondence, I looked in the mail to find her package filled to the brim with seeds!

Nan's seed donation to our seed library

Nan’s seed donation to our seed library

These seeds look amazing and we are incredibly thankful for the donation!

Next Steps

Between now and my next update on the progress of the seed library, I’ll be working on obtaining grants, seeds, and other materials. In my next post, I hope to be able to give you all some more information on what other companies might want to donate seeds to your library, as well as grants that you might want to apply for.

Stay tuned!

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