AZ Daily Sun July 03, 2015 12:24 am • JACKEE ALSTON
When I walked into the small, public library in Brandon, VT, it only took me a moment to notice the quaint, 15-drawer card catalog with a hand-painted sign over it, “Seed Lending Library”. I fell in love with the idea as soon as I opened a drawer. A place for the community to borrow flower and vegetable seeds, grow them, and then return the seeds from that year’s harvest? Sold. In a town of 1,500 people, I knew if Brandon could support a seed library, so could Flagstaff and Coconino County. Today there are over 400 seed lending libraries cropping up all over the United States. These libraries offer seeds not only encapsulating the potential for families to feed themselves, but locally-proven seeds with a history of success—some as ancient as the first people to inhabit the area. This summer a seed library will open to the public at the University of Arizona Coconino County Cooperative Extension Office located on 2304 North 3rd Street. Dubbed Grow Flagstaff! Seed Lending Library, seeds will include flower and vegetable varieties adapted to grow in our climate conditions, as well as native seeds attractive to local gardeners.
What is a seed library and how does it work? A seed library is a storehouse of open-pollinated or heirloom seeds available to the community as a free - though priceless - service much like a book lending library. It is based on an easy membership form and relies on the return of next generation seeds from its patrons as well as donations from local gardeners and seed companies. By collecting and providing a pure source of seeds optimal for our local conditions and the knowledge on how to grow them, a seed library promises that people will have a better chance of becoming successful gardeners each year.