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Garden seeds can connect people and strengthen communities

Warm greetings readers. Recently I had the opportunity to connect with my friend Alicia. She is an avid gardener and outdoor enthusiast just like myself with a strong desire to bring the community together.

During our visit we discussed her latest project to which she has given me permission to publicly announce. I can hardly contain my excitement and enthusiasm to share with all of you that, my friend has started a Community Seed Library!

Some of you may not be familiar with seed libraries, and that’s O.K. because they are somewhat rare and unusual to find in this part of the country. Kuddos to my friend for taking the first small step in changing that.

A seed library is a place where members of the community can get vegetable, herb and flower garden seeds for a nominal fee, exchange or free. The focus of the seed library can be any one or all of the following; feeding the community through supporting local gardening efforts, developing a network of local seed savers and preserving genetic seed diversity.

Some seed libraries require a membership and some do not. Most have a “Check out” and “Return” policy, just like a reading library. For a seed library the term “Check out” refers to when a community member takes seeds from the library. The term “Return” is used when a member donates seed to the library (usually from their own garden.)

Lunenburg’s first community seed library will be located at the Ripberger Public Library in Kenbridge. I am delighted that Alicia will be utilizing the library’s original card catalog that has since been retired to keep the seeds in.

The seeds available in the seed library will be heirloom vegetable and flower varieties and will be FREE to community members. Workshops and educational presentations on growing gardens and saving seeds are being planned.

You don’t need to be a seasoned gardener to participate in the community seed library’s offerings. All community members interested in growing vegetables or flowers from seed are welcome. Participation of all skill levels and experience is encouraged. A fantastic opportunity for community members to share their gardening knowledge, experiences, seeds and learn together.

I am looking forward to being a part of this exciting new venture and hope many of you are also. Feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have or if you just want to chat about seed libraries. You may also reach Alicia Henward Hilliard at Ripberger Public Library. (lunenburglibraries.org)

Dawn Conrad is a columnist for The Kenbridge Victoria Dispatch. She can be reached at conrad. gardenmuse@gmail. com or fb.me/