This is a huge milestone for me. My good friend Krista (neighbor, Farm School teacher, gardening consultant business owner, urban farmer rockstar) and I have been working for a year to make this happen and it finally is!! We are starting a free seed lending library here in West Seattle and the grand opening is Sunday, March 13 from 2-4pm at The Healing Tree (3225 California SW). A big thank you to Therese for offering her office location and the cabinet (seen below)!
I grew our very first home garden the year our oldest child was born (she's 7 now), and I had lost my job from the market crash layoffs, the rental house we owned was in foreclosure and we were staring down the pipeline of short-selling our own home and filing bankruptcy. Life basically sucked, except we had a beautiful new baby to keep us smiling. With half the income and a lot more "home" time, I decided I could help lower our food budget by learning how to grow whatever I could. I searched the internet for free seeds and tried to find local resources to start a home garden for as cheap as possible without a lot of luck. We made it through that crazy financial valley and I vowed to myself that someday I would make the opportunity to grow food for free or as cheap as possible to as many people as I could. Food can be free, even if it means putting in some work to make it happen and no one should go without fresh, healthy food. And better yet, it's fun to grow a community of garden loving and sharing people along the way.
Fast forward almost a decade, add in another kid, and a move to our permanent home community (I LOVE YOU WEST SEATTLE) and we've now hosted 2 community free seed swaps through Seattle Farm School (this year we had 85+ people attend!), started a Facebook group of incredible urban farmers that swap and share seeds, plants, products & wisdom (West Seattle Urban Farmers - with over 620 members!), organized and ran last summers' Urban Farm Tour of West Seattle (19 locations, 1 day, over 100 attendees!!), and now we are fulfilling the dream of having an ongoing Seed Lending Library!! It feels so good to make these things happen and add so much value to people through home, school and community gardens in our neighborhood!
The seed library will be free, open to all, and does not require a membership. We are thankful for generous donations of seeds over this past year from Territorial Seed Co., Baker Creek Seeds, Winter Sown Seeds, West Seattle Nursery and all the people who attended the seed swap and donated from their own seed stashes! With the money we collected at the seed swap we were able to buy containers for the seeds, and will have literature available on how to use the seed library, save your own seeds and more! This fall we'll have a Seed Homecoming to restock the seed library with all the localized seeds saved from our seed library patrons!
Seed packets can be "checked out" at the beginning of the growing season, and gardeners will leave some of their plants to go to seed, then harvest and "check in" seeds at the end of the season. Easy peasy.
Our library will be one location in the ever-growing King County Seed Lending Library system...all homegrown startups throughout our city and surrounding areas, coming together to make big things happen for our neighborhoods! Come check it out!