Around the globe, seed lending libraries have been sprouting up in public libraries. The seed libraries function very much like regular libraries, except instead of books, you check out seeds and bring them back once you've harvested them. These programs aim to improve access to seeds and preserve seeds for future generations. Seed libraries are just one way people can share seeds. Other ways include hosting informal, community-based seed swaps and creating open-source licenses for seeds, as the German nonprofit OpenSourceSeeds did.
"This is important because we are living in a time of not only privatization of genetic resources, but the monopolization of genetic resources," Dr. Johannes Kotschi, one the leaders at OpenSourceSeeds, told Shareable. "Big companies, they are interested in producing few varieties and extending and distributing these varieties for large acreages — the larger the acreage, the larger their return through royalties. But what we need is diversity in production, diversity in genetic resources, and we need diversity in breeders."
We visited the seed library in Boston Public Library's East Boston branch — take a look at how it works:
Inspired to launch your own seed library or host a seed swap? Here are some resources to get you started:
- How to host a seed swap
- How to create your own seed lending library
- Q&A: Ken Greene of Hudson Valley Seed Library
- 9 ways to power up the seed movement