Friday, June 20, 2014

SeedBroadcasting at Westcliffe Seed Library

The last stop on the Rocky Mountain Tour was to the Westcliffe Seed Library at the West Custer County Library in Westcliffe, Colorado.

“A Collaborative Effort of People, Non-Profits and The Public Library”

The Westcliffe Seed Library began in 2010 with the joint effort of the library director, local grower Penn Parmenter, and Colorado State University Extension Office. It brought together donated seed from BBB Seed, Tomato Bob’s, Seed Trust, and High Mountain Seeds.

All this seed provides the largest inventory available, but tucked away inside the custom made library cabinet are several packets of locally grown and saved flower, herbs, and vegetable seeds.

Like many seed library systems they use “Easy” “Medium” and “Difficult” to denote the challenge of saving seed from particular varieties and use a check out system to keeping track of the seeds and patrons.

The curation of this living archive is truly a collaborative effort between many interested gardeners, seed savers, librarians, and educators. Being local, growing local, and honoring the local is key. And this does not only apply to the seeds. It is also evident in its location among the stacks of local history, local telephone books, and local references. Local matters here.

Situated next to the Seed Library was a shelf with a potted Hoya plant and a framed picture, which seemed uncanny given the connection of sharing plants, seeds, and stories.

"This plant had grown from slips shared between historic neighbors in Silver Cliff and Westcliffe. Here is the story of this Hoya and its originator Lew Key: “This plant was grown from a slip taken from a plant that stood in the Silver Cliff laundry of Lew Kee. The Hoya plant slip was sent from California by Carolyn Anderson. Her mother (Nell) Cornelia Wadeigh attended the Westcliffe School during the time her father was the Westcliffe train station manager. Mr Key gave Nell’s mother a slip from his original plant and she in turn gave slips to her children and they to their children. These plants have traveled across the United States in places that Lew Key never dreamed of traveling.”

Current library director, Amy Moulton sat down with SeedBroadcast and shared her thoughts on the Westciffe Seed Library and their goals to make it grow. Here is Amy’s seed story:

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