Seed Libraries are springing up all over the place and the first one in Albuquerque, New Mexico opened last year at the Juan Tabo branch library in the North East Heights. The ABC Seed Library was instigated through the passion and tireless efforts of Brita Sauer who is a librarian at the Juan Tabo branch. This year Brita wanted to hold an event to bring people together to share their seeds, their knowledge and to inspire others to plant gardens, save seeds and to make use of the invaluable resource of the seed library.
|Collaborative Seed Mural by Jade Leyva|
Seed libraries are places that ‘lend’ or share seeds. They are different from seed banks as their main purpose is to disseminate the seeds to local growers to keep the seeds propagating and adapting. Borrowers are asked to grow the seed and if all goes well at the end of the growing season save the seeds to bring back and replenish the stock. What a simple act of reciprocity! These seed libraries often repurpose there the old card catalogues and offer a wonderful shared public resource. However in 2014 some libraries started to come under attack by their state Departments of Agriculture. One such library is in the small Pennsylvania town of Mechanicsburg. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/08/04/agri-terrorism-towns-seed-library-shut-down. This small unassuming library received a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture stating that the seed library was in violation of the states Seed Act of 2004. This act focuses on seeds that are sold but they were told that this could be a problem for seeds that were free but mislabeled. This caused a stir through out the national seed library network and has made it even more important to educate the public about the necessary to keep growing out and sharing our local heirloom seeds and the importance of our community seed libraries.
|Seed Activist Beata Tsosie-Peña|
|Seeds: The Yearbook of Agriculture 1961|
Education was the core of the intent for the Spring Seed Fair. The daylong event started with a seed swap and then moved into a variety of talks about seed diversity, the importance of saving and recognizing our wild seeds and a seed saving workshop. Seeds and their inherent potential bring a great assortment of people together and this event was no exception. Many took part in the creation of a seed mural with Jade Leyva, https://www.facebook.com/SeedsACollectiveVoice listened to the passion talk by long time seed saver Brett Baker, heard the powerful poetry of seed activist Beata Tsosie-Peña from Tewa Women United, http://tewawomenunited.org/ stayed for a seed saving workshop by Sean Ludden of Bosque Seed Collective http://bosqueseedcollective.weebly.com/ and shared their seed stories with us. Stories and knowledge were shared and the many varieties of heirloom seeds exchanged hands. The talks, experiences and workshops hopefully motivated participants to get their fingers in the warming soil and plant, to remember to save their new found seeds at the end of the growing season and to bring them back and replenish their own community seed library.
Listen to some of the seed stories: