Check This Out! Libraries Across America Are “Lending” Seeds to Patrons for their Gardens

Now that it’s spring, you may be thinking about planting a garden. Well, I have a surprising tip for you before you get started.

You might want to check out your local library first.

Why? Because in addition to the standard books and DVDS you might expect, many libraries across America are starting to lend out seeds also.

When you stop to think about it, lending out seeds is right in line with the mission of what the original library set out to achieve. To help educate the public and provide shared access to previously unavailable resources.

First a Little History is in Order

Benjamin Franklin did not invent the public library, as some folks claim. Lending libraries have been around for many centuries in one form or another.

But he did help found the Library Company in 1731. The intent was to give Americans access to books that were otherwise very expensive. And only available in places such as New York City or Boston.

For many decades, people went to public libraries in the U.S. for one and only one reason. To borrow books they would return in 14 days.

Over time, libraries started expanding their services. They began lending many items besides books. Including audio tapes, records, DVDs and much more.

Many now offer their patrons a variety of book club meetings. And art and writing workshops, and practice rooms for musicians. Plus computers for those who don’t have one at home, and more. And recently, some have even starting adding seeds to the list of items you can come and use for free.

Seed Libraries Starting to Blossom

There are now more than 500 public libraries in America that lend out seeds. This is according to the Seed Savers Exchange.

You could say they’re sprouting up everywhere.

They exist in places such as the Salem Library in Salem, Virginia. And the Woodmont Public Library in King County, Washington. As well as the Fremont Public Library in Mundelein, Illinois. The Easthampton (Massachusetts) City Library. And many other public libraries.

The goal of seed-sharing programs is to expand access to crops. And to educate the public while also protecting scarce agricultural resources.

Preserving Agricultural Purity

Here’s how it works:

Library patrons can “check out” packets of seeds without charge. This includes vegetable, fruit and herb seeds. And there’s only one stipulation. They have to agree to return some seeds to the library that ripen at the end of the growing season. Those seeds are for other gardeners to use the next season.

These are the best kinds of seeds. They are open-pollinated, non-hybrid, non-genetically modified seeds.

Seed libraries help vital, locally-cultivated strains of seeds that have been saved by farmers continue to be planted.

Saving the seeds from harvested plants helps in two ways. First, it helps save the genetic strain that may have originated generations ago. Second, it saves money from not having to spend cash on seeds for the next planting season.

Expanding to Higher Education

“It’s innovative, it’s different, it’s another way for people to interact with the library,” said Lee Franklin. (No relation to Benjamin, by the way). He is a spokesperson for the Phoenix Public Library.

Franklin claims the program has become very popular in recent years. He said the library distributes an average of 1,000 seed packets per month across nine of its branches.

Even college and university libraries are starting to lend seeds.

Three students at Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont recently launched a seed library. This was part of their independent study. It’s in the Crossett Library through the Center for the Advancement of Public Action.

From the Library to the Courtroom

The library seed-lending effort has even won a potential legal battle.

For instance, take the Duluth (Minnesota) Public Library. Recently the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said they were violating laws. This was with regards to the testing and labeling of seeds before distribution.

They thought their seed-lending program might close only a year after it started.

But Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton came to the rescue. He signed a bill that exempted the program from state agriculture laws. The program has lent bean, tomato, pepper and other seeds to gardeners.

Taking Back Control of Our Food Supply

I was glad Governor Dayton stepped in to save the “little guy” from the “big guy.”

Large corporations have run the show for far too long. Seed saving is a great step towards taking control of our food supply and putting it back into the hands of hard working Americans.

When large corporations control food production, they favor uniform crops. The loss of this diversity puts crops in much greater danger of epidemics such as pests and diseases.

Growing and saving these seeds locally creates diversity across the regions. The strains evolve over time to adapt to the local environmental conditions.

Here at 4Patriots, we truly believe our country would be better off if more people grew their own food.

That’s why we were thrilled when we managed to find a small supply of seeds from a true Rutgers tomato heirloom line.

These are seeds that you can harvest and plant again and again for years to come.

So, not to worry if your local library hasn’t jumped on the seed lending bandwagon just yet.

We’re offering you the chance to grab your own free packet of heirloom seeds, while supplies last. All we ask is that you cover shipping.

>> Claim your FREE original Rutgers tomato seeds now

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