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Seed Library sprouting satellite sites at local libraries for next growing season

Partnership with Guelph Public Library will make seeds available at Scottsdale Drive and Bullfrog Mall branches
Seed Library by Susan Carey
The Seed Library is expanding with satellite locations at the Scottsdale Drive and Bullfrog Mall branches of Guelph Public Library.

With growing interest in the community, The Seed Library is set to expand for next season.

Thanks to a partnership with Guelph Public Library (GPL), free seeds will be available at the Scottsdale Drive and Bullfrog Mall branches for people to take home, plant, nurture and enjoy.

“It’s a really wonderful way to get seeds out to the community,” said Christy Giesler, supervisor of the Scottsdale Drive library branch. “It felt like we were a natural fit for a distribution point.”

The satellite locations will likely sprout up in February as people begin planning their gardens and/or porch pot plantings, commented The Seed Library coordinator Susan Carey.

“I love it,” she said of expanding into the GPL locations, noting The Tool Library, of which The Seed Library is a part, runs several programs aimed at food and gardening. “Being able to get seeds into people’s hands is awesome.”

The partnership formed organically as a result of the pandemic, Carey explained. Unable to continue offering seeds from a refrigerator at The Tool Library in the early days of the pandemic, she began distributing them from her porch and for the first time got a better handle on the people who came to get seeds.

“I realized it was not representative of our community. It was representative of Facebook users, because that’s where we do most of our communication,” Carey said, noting many of those who came were white, middle-class, middle-aged women. “Library users are reflective of their community.”

That led to a “much paired down pilot” out of the Scottsdale library this past spring which attracted “hundreds” of users, she continued, noting the process has traditionally been rather informal and precise usage figures aren’t available.

“They were really happy with it and I was really happy with it too,” said Carey. “It worked out really well.”

“The library is happy to support this type of partnership and community program,” added Giesler.

Given that success, adding another location felt like the way to go.

“We want to set people up for success, so that they have a really positive experience gardening,” said Carey. “We try to make it interesting and fun.”

While growing some of your own vegetables helps with food security concerns, no one is going to be able to completely feed themselves through this initiative, the coordinator added.

“It gives them a sense of being capable when they realize they can grow a lot of this stuff,” she said. “It’s a very positive experience when you realize ‘I do have this capacity, I do have this knowledge.”

In addition to distributing seeds, participants are also imparted with knowledge not only about growing but harvesting seeds for next season. Recipients are encouraged to save seeds for themselves as well as contribute back to The Seed Library to help others do the same.