Coventry Village Library launches seed-saving program

Coventry Village Library manager Pat Gray shows off the new seed library. [Photo: Sheryl Banks]

On March 29, the Coventry Village Library held a kick-off program for its newly established seed library. A crowd of more than 40 people came to hear Mari Keating of Food Not Lawns, Cleveland speak about seed saving and the basic pillars of permaculture.

“All in all, we had 25 new memberships, including many families and couples, and we look forward to growing the seed library further as the season continues,” said Maggie Killman, adult services associate at the Coventry Village Library.

Sprouted from a partnership between the library and Food Not Lawns, Cleveland, the seed library is a collection of seeds available for anyone to borrow and plant. The initial collection is made up of easy-to-harvest seeds, such as vegetables and herbs. The seeds were donated to Food Not Lawns, Cleveland, which takes the Safe Seed Pledge. All donated seed are non-GMO, open-pollinated, and can be reliably saved.

Seed saving is a 12,000-year-old practice. It was the first step in the development of agriculture, which in turn led to the creation of human society. Seed saving has enabled people to sustainably feed the world. By selecting the most productive plants over generations, humans have helped shape a diverse variety of edible nutritious plants.

Today, however, the practice of seed saving has become a somewhat lost art. Most people with gardens buy annual seeds every year. Buying seeds from a seed company is buying a name-brand commodity, not a locally made unique product. “By saving the ‘best and brightest’ we are selecting plants with traits that, with each generation, are more and more adapted to our microclimate,” said Sam Lapides, special projects coordinator for Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

The seed library works like this: Visitors with or without a library card can pick up a seed packet to take home, with no due date or fines. Borrowers plant and grow their seeds, eat the fruits of their labor, and harvest and save the seeds from the healthiest, tastiest, or easiest-growing plants, to bring back to the library.

To help new seed growers and savers, the library will host workshops on how to practice seed starting and saving. The dates and times of the workshops will be announced in the spring and summer.

For more information about the seed library and seed-saving program, contact a librarian at Coventry Village Library at 216-321-3400.

Julia Murphy

Julia Murphy is the marketing assistant for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 10:04 AM, 04.29.2014