Library To Offer Heirloom Seeds For Checkout Alongside Books


One Wisconsin Public Library is offering gardeners more than just books on the subject. Growers will be able to check out seeds to plant in their garden… as long as they return them later.

Starting this spring, La Crosse Public Library patrons can check out ‘heirloom’ plant seeds. Some call the seeds old-fashioned, as they are not genetically modified. Once the plant flowers, the seed is brought back to the library and made available for other growers to check out. La Crossse Librarian Kelly Becker says heirloom seeds are about tradition. “It basically has to do with sustainability movement: keeping food local, and for people to grow things for themselves and be self-supporting.”

There are estimated to be only a dozen or so seed libraries in the United States. Diane Ott Wealy is the co-founder of the Seed Savers Exchange, where the La Crosse Library purchased its seeds. She says the idea of a seed library is a relatively new concept that’s catching on in some parts of the country.

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“I think there might have been a project like this in Arizona. But I just came from a conference in California, and I was so happy they are doing seed library, seed exchange. I think they’re springing up all over, which is really encouraging.”

La Crosse Public Library patrons will be able to choose from a variety of seeds including several types of tomatoes and beans. Orientation sessions will start in March.

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