Seed libraries hold seed in the public domain. They offer a way for community members to share and trade seed through some kind of formalized system. Seed libraries are commonly housed in public spaces, such as: libraries, schools and community centres, to name only a few.
Community members “sign out” and grow seed from the library. If they are successful, they save seed from the plants they grow and return it to the seed library.
For over 30 years Seeds of Diversity has supported the public sharing and preservation of a wide diversity of open pollinated plants in Canada. Seeds of Diversity was originally inspired by the work of the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. In British Columbia, the Seed and Plant Sanctuary for Canada has been seeding and supporting community seed sharing since 2002.
Neighborhood and community scale seed sharing has ancient roots stretching back to the dawn of agricultural cultivation some 12,000 years ago. Yet community seed libraries feel like a new and innovative endeavor!
In living memory we have lost somewhere between 75-90% of global crop diversity. The rapacious and continued threat of industrial monocrop agriculture has created what many are now calling a Seed Sharing Movement.
This movement has been lovingly cultivated and supported by seed librarians around the world. SeedLibraries.net and the Seed Library Social Network continue to support and network seed libraries across the world.