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Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:10 PM

How To Save A Public Library: Make It A Seed Bank

Despite the cold and snow, some signs of spring are starting to break through in Colorado. The public library in the small town of Basalt is trying an experiment: In addition to borrowing books, residents can now check out seeds.


Here's how it works: A library card gets you a packet of seeds. You then grow the fruits and vegetables, harvest the new seeds from the biggest and best, and return those seeds so the library can lend them out to others.


http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/02/170846948/how-to-save-a-public-library-make-it-a-seed-bank

What a really neat idea!

40 replies, 2433 views

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Arrow 40 replies Author Time Post
Reply How To Save A Public Library: Make It A Seed Bank (Original post)
xmas74 Feb 2013 OP
xmas74 Feb 2013 #1
octoberlib Feb 2013 #2
xmas74 Feb 2013 #3
Mnemosyne Feb 2013 #4
freshwest Feb 2013 #6
RainDog Feb 2013 #5
Fire Walk With Me Feb 2013 #7
davidpdx Feb 2013 #8
obxhead Feb 2013 #10
xmas74 Feb 2013 #11
davidpdx Feb 2013 #17
xmas74 Feb 2013 #19
davidpdx Feb 2013 #23
xmas74 Feb 2013 #24
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #36
obxhead Feb 2013 #9
xmas74 Feb 2013 #14
obxhead Feb 2013 #16
xmas74 Feb 2013 #20
CrispyQ Feb 2013 #31
xmas74 Feb 2013 #32
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #37
xmas74 Feb 2013 #38
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #39
OneGrassRoot Feb 2013 #12
Skip Intro Feb 2013 #13
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Feb 2013 #15
xmas74 Feb 2013 #21
Drew Richards Feb 2013 #18
xmas74 Feb 2013 #22
Drew Richards Feb 2013 #25
Liberal_in_LA Feb 2013 #26
jayfox122 Feb 2013 #27
NickB79 Feb 2013 #28
hibbing Feb 2013 #29
xmas74 Feb 2013 #33
CrispyQ Feb 2013 #30
farminator3000 Feb 2013 #34
farminator3000 Feb 2013 #35
Taverner Feb 2013 #40

Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:18 PM

1. kick before it's lost to next page. nt

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:25 PM

2. K&R!

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Response to octoberlib (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:28 PM

3. Thank you!

It's a wonderful idea that needs to be passed along. I'm thinking that maybe this article needs to be sent to local libraries, schools, nurseries, gardening clubs and master gardeners, extension buildings-even local 4H and FFA chapters. (Wouldn't this be a great 4H project!)

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:38 PM

4. Fantastic idea! Hope it spreads. nt

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Response to Mnemosyne (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:53 PM

6. +1

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:39 PM

5. k&r n/t

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:58 PM

7. K&R

 

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:31 PM

8. That is a cool idea

It would even work for urban libraries as rooftop gardens have become popular. Maybe people can even give a little more back than they took. The next step would be for libraries to trade some seeds to allow people in other areas to have the chance to plant other things.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:05 PM

10. You always get more back than you put in

Even a bad year of gardening will yield far more seeds than you started with.

I really love this idea. A dual purpose. Possibly getting more people to read a book and a (potentially) free seed bank going.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:07 PM

11. Yet at the same time

you might not want to trade too many things out of area.

The best part about the program is that the seeds came from that area. They came from produce already raised there, which means they work well in that climate and that soil. Take things too far from the area and the seeds might not work as well. If someone planted some seeds that work well in Zone 8 in a Zone 3 area they would probably fail-and would frustrate the person, especially if they weren't accustomed to gardening and didn't understand the difference in zones or types of soil.

OTOH, if you stick within zones it wouldn't be so bad. Some libraries have borrowing programs with other libraries. (For example: my local library is part of a small group with a number of chapters in other small towns and we all connect with other libraries as a larger lending group.) In that case, the best bet might be to take a large seed donation and divide it between a number of libraries.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:26 PM

17. That is true

Vegetables and fruits grow better within certain climates. I had a friend on Facebook that said she planted a bunch of tomato plants and ended up with way too many as they grew well. Last I heard she was making spaghetti sauce and giving tomatoes away to people.

I was thinking more of within the state in terms of trading seeds as it would be easier to network.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:41 PM

19. which is why getting a local 4H or Master Gardener club

involved would be perfect. Most could use it as a service project and would also be able to identify if the seeds would work well in the area. Master Gardeners would be an absolutely perfect match while 4H and FFA would be fantastic fits and would allow area children a glance at what could work as a model for the future.

Programs could also be held at the local library about how to plant, how to harvest, how to freeze/dehydrate/can the crop and how to harvest the seeds, keeping some for themselves and donating the rest back to the local library. With the programs available it turns what are sometimes rarely-used buildings into public meeting spaces, with lots of lively discussions. It creates a new space for the public and saves the library.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #19)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:38 PM

23. Anything that saves libraries

Count me in.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #23)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:47 PM

24. Me too.

I still use the local library on a regular basis, as does my child.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #23)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:23 AM

36. how would this save libraries? libraries are under the gun because of local funding crises.

 

making more work for already short-staffed libraries doesn't save them. taking up library storage space doesn't save libraries. getting away from the core mission of libraries doesn't save them.

and in most locations, i think, the number of people who want to check out seeds would be passingly small.

it's a project for garden clubs, master gardens, extension services, not libraries, imo.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:02 PM

9. That is a really neat idea!

That is a really neat idea!

Sounds like sosholism to me!

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Response to obxhead (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:08 PM

14. I read the comments on the article page

and one person did complain about it, saying it was stupid and wouldn't work on such a large level.

I suspect his real problem was that he doesn't like sharing.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #14)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:19 PM

16. Well, it wouldn't really work on a large level

This is the kind of thing that would work best on a locality basis.

Doing a nationwide program would likely prove expensive and far less productive.

However, on a local basis it could get neighbors talking and sharing. They might even read a book, something far to few Americans do lately.

Hopefully the idea takes and more localities begin similar programs.

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Response to obxhead (Reply #16)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:45 PM

20. The person complaining didn't actually read the article

or else they would have realized just that-this is for hobby gardening only.

Think of all the programs that could be offered at the library to compliment! How to pick a spot, how to ready the spot, how to plant, how to weed, troubleshooting, how to transplant, how to harvest, how to preserve the crop, and how to save seeds. The participants save some seeds back for themselves, donate a few to a neighbor or family (or friend or coworker or...you get the picture) and donate the rest to the library.

It's a win-win for the entire community.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:50 PM

31. I sent the story to my library along with a reminder

that there is an organic farm about 4 blocks away. Maybe the library & farm could work together for the benefit of both. We'll see. Our town library is pretty active.

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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #31)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 10:11 PM

32. I did the same

Along with an email to a local master gardener.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #20)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:24 AM

37. where's the funding coming from? our local libraries have already had two rounds of cuts.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #37)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:47 PM

38. Programs like this often receive free donations.

For example, I sent this article along to someone I know in master gardeners and she said that this was feasible- programs like hers or 4H or even a Scouting program could turn it into a service project. Free lessons could be offered to the public about how to save seeds.

There are ways to make this low to no cost. Extension programs would be perfect for this.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #38)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:54 PM

39. extension, 4h & scouts aren't libraries.

 

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:08 PM

12. K&R n/t

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:08 PM

13. K&R. Awesome idea! nt

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:17 PM

15. wonderful idea. Hopefully it'll take off and help a few people become a little less dependent on GMO

 

That's assuming they're heirloom seeds to begin with.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:46 PM

21. More than likely they are heirloom seeds`

but it doesn't actually say.

If my local would be interested I'd be glad to donate a few packs from Baker Creek to start. They are passionate about heirloom seeds and are kinda local (they are located in my state).

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:39 PM

18. This was the whole philosophy of grangers who then expanded

To full blown feed and tractor supply stores and then were destroyed by monsanto in the 70's yes i said the fuckin 70's monsanto has been the ugly bully in the room a long damn time...

Dont bother demanding my proof i came back to the states 1970 and lived through their alledged intimidation and bribery.

I watched first hand how others were bought new equipment or given 1% loans if they would use monsant seed instead of burpee or granger traded legacy seed.

Hurray seed banks fuck franken food.

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Response to Drew Richards (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:49 PM

22. Why would I demand proof?

I live in an agricultural community and nothing surprises me.

I used to use Burpee but now buy from Baker Creek.

http://rareseeds.com/

They have a store in the southern part of my state,which I hope to visit in person soon. And their catalogs are gorgeous-and free.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #22)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:32 AM

25. Baker creek rocks

And they dont pawn off old seed that doesnt germinate...great web site should be promoted more.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:33 AM

26. k&r before I have read the full article. great idea! saving for reading later

thanks for posting this.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)


Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:02 AM

28. Quite possibly a bad idea

Without proper isolation barriers, many vegetable varieties will cross-pollinate easily with each other, even if they're not GM or hybrids. Plant a pumpkin, a zucchini and a butternut squash plant within 100 yards of each other, and the resulting seeds will be hybridized "mutts" as bees spread pollen willy-nilly among their flowers. Return those seeds to the seed bank, and the next person to check them out will get bastardized plants that likely won't have the same desirable characteristics of the original strain. You'd need to find a way to ensure that whoever was returning seed was qualified to follow rigorous quality-control standards.

I live on 1.5 acres of land, and even I have be careful about what I grow each season to keep pure seed strains of my heirlooms. I even go so far as to ask the neighbors what they're growing every spring in their gardens; bees and wind-blown pollen can travel a pretty far distance.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:34 AM

29. Great..I sent this to my library system

Hey,
I hope someone looks at it and follows up with the powers that be in the library system. Great idea, thanks for posting this.

Peace

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Response to hibbing (Reply #29)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 10:12 PM

33. I also passed this along.

I think it's wonderful.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:44 PM

30. Love it!

And you can find books on how to garden, too!

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 11:55 PM

34. here's the book you want. i guess all the libraries should have it?

http://www.caroldeppe.com/byovv.html


Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving, 2nd ed.

Carol Deppe

Dec. 2000 Chelsea Green Publishing
paperback; 370 pages; list price: $27.95

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:15 AM

35. just one little correction from the article

Syson says tending a garden in Western Colorado can be frustrating. The dry climate, alkaline soils and short growing season keep many novices from starting. She'll take seeds from the plants that withstand pests and persevere through drought.

"If you save seed from those plants, already, in one generation, you will now be able to grow a plant that has those traits," Syson says.


it takes longer than 1 generation is all. but they do acclimate, within reason. 2 or 3 zones is OK, i think.

its in that book!

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:57 PM

40. 420 Growing used this method

 

Worked very well to proliferate this perfect medicinal and recreational herb

Legalize it!

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