Have you ever visited your local library to check out …
It’s a new trend that’s “going fungal,” according to Rebecca Newburn, who started the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library in California in 2010.
When Newburn launched her library in collaboration with the Richmond Public Library, there were about five such seed lenders in the nation—now there are over 300.
“You may be asking, ‘How can you borrow seeds?’ The basic is idea is that you take seeds home (for free), plant them, let some go to seed, then return some of these next-generation seeds to the library for others to borrow,” Newburn explains. “Don’t worry. We don’t have fines if you don’t return seeds.”
It makes perfect sense to merge seed-lending with book-lending, don’t you think?
“[It] is such a lovely fit because public libraries are about providing access, and they are a commons of the community,” said Newburn. “Our mission and their mission just seemed like they dovetail beautifully together.”
Plus, she says that the document storage conditions within libraries (dark, cool, and dry) are also conducive to seed preservation.
In addition to serving the community of Richmond, the library is excited about helping others establish their own seed-lending services. They offer detailed start-up ideas on their Create a Library page and support in the form of a Seed Libraries Social Network.
Here’s a little video that illuminates more about seed-lending and borrowing. But before you watch, take a minute to sign the Protect Seed Libraries petition to prevent seed libraries from being “regulated out of existence due to misapplication of seed laws by several state departments of agriculture.”