Seed Banking with Help from a Local Library

Today I visited the Juan Tabo Library here in town to find out how they save seeds. I met with the founder of the Seed Library, seed librarian and branch Manager, Ms. Sauer to discuss the seed library. I asked her what  the main difference is between a seed bank and a seed library. She said that it is purely an opinion, but a seed library was smaller and less formal than a seed bank. A seed bank would have stricter requirements for taking and donating seed. The seed library is just to encourage the local community to learn about seed saving and to try to enforce it in our own homes. She mentioned that it took about 6 months of work to plan it out. The seed library was functional by early March.

The picture below, which I took, shows how they have organized the seeds in the seed library. They used an old card catalog from the Main Library. Now that we have computers to aid us in checking out books and movies, the cabinet no longer had a use. One other feature of this cabinet is that it is elevated. This helps keep bugs and other pests out of the seeds. When I asked Ms. Sauer about pests problems, she said that if the seeds are properly saved and stored, they should not attract pests. But if the cabinet is raised, that will also help keep pests out.

This is the old card library that is re-purposed as the seed library at the Juan Tabo Library.

This is the old card library that is re-purposed as the seed library at the Juan Tabo Library.

The seeds are organized alphabetically. This made it easier for the community to find the seeds that they are looking for. The only seeds that are not alphabetized are the herbs. Cilantro, basil, and other comman garden herbs are not alphabetized. Because the seed library has been running fro a few months, all the finicky details have not been totally sorted out. How to categorize and what to accept are detail that still need to be worked out. I anticipate that students will need some prodding to get this project started at Academy. I would like the volunteers to receive community service credit. This picture, which I also took, shows how the seed is saved in the library. The seeds are saved in coin envelopes that many banks and other accounting businesses.

This is just a glimpse of how the seeds are categorized and stored.

This is just a glimpse of how the seeds are categorized and stored.

When the donor drops off the seeds, they are interviewed so that the library and see how the seeds were grown. Many seeds won’t be easily identified as GMO’s. If they are grown from seed and the seed packet doesn’t have anything about being a hybrid, the seeds are fine to donate. The donor has a pre-filled out form of the information for the seeds. Either Ms. Sauer or some volunteers type up the more crucial information into a sticker format to place on the bag of seeds. All the information on the seed that the donor filled out is transferred into their data bank. Then, depending on the number of seeds, is split up between the coin envelopes. A bar code is placed on the envelope so that the library can keep track of the amount of people that use the seed library. Along with the bar code, there is a sticker identifying the type of seed it is, how easy it is to save and how much water it uses. (pictures taken by me)

 

This is a close up of the seed packet labels.

This is a close up of the seed packet labels.

This is just another picture of the seed labels.

This is just another picture of the seed labels.

For the seed library at school, I was also planning on using an old pamphlet file. It is just a bigger version of the card file at the library. The file at school is located in the back of the library. One down side to the location is the Mouse/bug problem. The reason that the area that the cabinet is in is preferable is because it is accessible to the Academy Community and it is not crowded. To help make the most of the space that we have, dividers will be added to the drawers. The pamphlet file is the size of a file folder. The card cabinet drawers at the library are approximately 10 in x 5 in x 3 in. The 4 usable drawers are on the far right and are about 18 in x 12 in x 12 in. The dividers will help use the space that we have. The picture below was taken by Jocelyn on her iPhone.

photo

To help implement this at school, I have asked the Upper School Librarian to help take care of it when students are not available to man the library. I also want to train students on how to use a seed library. I want to ask for volunteers first from the Environmental club, then for anyone who wants to learn how to do this. The easiest way to keep this going is to train the kids. They will help spread the knowledge for the future.

Maria

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6 thoughts on “Seed Banking with Help from a Local Library

  1. This is really informational and interesting! I like how you gave us all this information on the seed library at the public library that is relevant to starting our own.

    You also say that you “also want to train students on how to use a seed library,” but how do you plan on doing that? Will you recruit certain students and teach them on your own time? Or will you perhaps make an announcement for anybody who wants to learn?

    I recommend that you caption your photos, so that it’s clear what you are showing.

  2. I was first drawn to this post, as I believed it would be informative and would involve specific experiences with the company. I was pleasantly surprised to see more that I was hoping for. This post is both informative and interesting, and it has that personal touch which makes it so much more interesting to read. On that note, there are a few minor issues that could be improved to help strengthen this blog.
    “Because the seed library has been running fro a few months, all the finicky details have not been totally sorted out. This is one of them.” This phrase was one that confused me. I wasn’t and am still not sure what the problem is that is not sorted out.
    Also, potentially more information on the seed bank being set up at school could be helpful.
    Lastly, I’d just like to know, what are the requirements for sending in seeds to this seed bank? Is there a specific brand that cannot be used because of GMO’s? What can be done to avoid this? I’m just curious and think it would add a more technical side to this post.
    -Will

    • Now that I look back on it, I realize I left out some crucial details. I will go back and change my post to be more clear and less confusing. I’m glad you were surprised my the information. I want to add more on the seed bank at school over the summer. I ran out of time to do it for today. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions. I will add more to this post to make it less confusing and with more details. Thanks.

  3. This seed library is so cute! I absolutely love the concept. When talking about the Juan Tabo seed library you mention “because the seed library has been running fro a few months, all the finicky details have not been totally sorted out”. This makes me wonder, what sort of problems do you anticipate encountering with the seed library at AA? Do you think that students will be eager to contribute to the library immediately or will the library need to be promoted first?
    How do you plan on training kids to man the library? Will they be required to work for a certain number of hours a week? Is it volunteer based or do you think that they will be able to receive community service credit for their work?

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