What is the NE Seattle Seed Library?
When you’re ready to plant something new in your garden, “borrow” seeds from the library – FOR FREE! Member seed donations keep the library stocked for the next season. If you want to help keep the lending library stocked, pick a variety or two of your plants and let them mature all the way to seed production. Then bring some of your saved seeds back to the library, and help us keep the cycle going!
If you have never saved seeds before, we can help you learn about which kinds of seeds are easy to save and which ones are a bit more difficult. The King County Seed Lending Library is in the process of rebuilding its website. In the meantime, this is a good source for information on the difficulty levels of saving various seeds.
MORE ABOUT US
OUR VISION is a world of food secure people sustained by a diverse supply of healthy food grown by local community-based farms through just methods.
OUR MISSION is to encourage and facilitate the growth and saving of open-pollinated seeds in and around Seattle.
Our primary strategy for achieving our mission is to offer a repository of vegetable, herb, and flower seeds free to our members, paired with education on the practices of growing and saving seeds and the nurturing of a local community of gardeners who share our vision and joy of this work.
The NE Seattle Seed Library is headquartered at the NE Seattle Tool Library. We host and attend events periodically to share knowledge and seeds and to build community. We also offer continuous access to recommended resources through this website and through the physical library space during tool library hours.
HOW DOES THE SEED LIBRARY WORK?
Local gardeners can “check out” seeds for free with the agreement that they attempt to grow some of them out and “return” some seeds of the next generation at the end of the season. Seeds where we have an overabundant supply can be “checked out” without the promise of attempting to return seeds.
The NE Seattle Tool Library houses our seed library. Fill out a membership application and come to the library to check out some seeds.
Use the resources provided through this website and our library to grow the seeds. Learn. Have fun and spread the word!
WHY SAVE SEEDS?
People’s reason’s for saving seeds are as diverse as people but may include a desire to preserve family history, love of a particular plant that is difficult to find commercially, personal beliefs and ideas about our food system, a general love of gardening, or a desire to access food for less money. We love and support this diversity and welcome all interested parties to join us, regardless of your level of knowledge or gardening skills and the size of your plot (or pot).
We share the reasons enumerated above but are largely driven by a strong desire to protect the diversity of our food sources. The majority of the world’s small seed companies have been purchased by large multinational corporations, which are replacing naturally cultivated strains of vegetables and flowers with their own hybrids and patented varieties. Often, these industrially cultivated hybrid strains produce non-viable or non-true seed (ie. the baby plants wont be the same as the parent plants), and the seed from patented varieties cannot legally be collected and used. Instead, the seeds must be bought fresh each year from these corporations. If hybridized and patented seeds are allowed to supplant naturally cultivated varieties, seed saving may become endangered and our food security at risk.