Public libraries revolutionized and democratized the United States by providing everyone with access to knowledge and information. And now, in a brilliant and natural evolution, the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library in Richmond, California, is giving people the opportunity to transform their lives and communities by lending them seeds and the information they need to grow and save them—providing access to fresh, healthy food in communities where it may not otherwise be available and teaching everyone how much fun growing your own food can be.
The Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library is a free urban seed project that lends seeds and encourages borrowers to return some seeds from their harvests to make the library self-sustaining. “The Seed Library celebrates biodiversity through the time-honored tradition of seed saving, nurtures locally adapted plant varieties, and fosters community resilience, self-reliance and a culture of sharing,” the library’s mission statement explains. “We celebrate our human diversity through outreach and inclusion.”
The library’s goals are to create a culture of sharing, abundance and community involvement, provide a physical space (the library) where people can “borrow” free seeds, an organizational system for filing and locating seeds, and a website to educate and inform the community about events and resources relevant to its mission. The organization intends to “be a model for sustainability in our community while supporting other communities to create their own seed-lending library and seed interchanges (swaps). All of our material is free and available for non-commercial purposes.”
If you like this idea, Richmond Grows offers steps for creating a seed-saving library in your town. The organization also provides a wealth of seed saving resources, information on what type of seeds you should borrow based on your level of experience and commitment to learning, and a solid list of recommended reading.
For a great list of heirloom seed companies, check out Natural Home & Garden’s “Green Your Thumb With Heirloom Seed Companies.”
Library patrons can borrow seeds to plant and lend seeds at the end of the harvest at the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library. Photo by Povy Kendal Atchison