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Seed Lending at the Library: a Novel Idea!

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Libraries are spectacular places. It’s hard to believe anything could make these book troves more fabulous. But with an in-house seed bank, Basalt Regional Library, located in Basalt, Colorado, has managed to make itself a spectacular, top-notch destination.

According to and, the library gives out a packet of seeds to local gardeners and farmers. Library patrons grow fruits and veggies, harvest the seeds from the best specimens and bring back the seeds to the library. The seed packets give people a reason to come into the library and physically checkout a book. The library along with the CRMPI and the Roaring Fork Food Policy Council helped launch the program.

Here’s a bit more about the program:

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From the Organic Authority Files

“The new Basalt Seed Library Project is a part of a growing network of concerned farmers and community gardeners dedicated to conserving the remaining genetic diversity of our planet’s seed stock. We are creating a library of healthy and regionally adapted vegetable, herb and flower seeds that is available free to the public.” – Basalt Seed Library

The library program categorizes every seed by its seed-saving difficulty. The difficulty system helps seed collectors understand which seeds are the easiest to save. Victory Seed Company, Lake Valley Seeds, Territorial Seeds, Botanical Interests, Beauty Beyond Belief, Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds, and High Mowing Seeds donated the first round of seeds to the library.

NPR spoke to Stephanie Syson, a library patron, and found out that tending a garden in Western Colorado can be difficult. Alkaline soils, the dry climate and short growing season can intimidate gardeners. Syson said she plans to keep seeds from the plants that survive.

According to NPR, the American Library Association reported that there are almost a dozen programs similar to the one in Colorado throughout the United States.

Image: aussiegall

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