The Duluth Public Library will become the first in Minnesota to start a seed lending library.
Beginning next spring people can flock to the Duluth public library where they can pick up packets of seeds. The seeds can then be grown into fresh vegetables, eaten, and then the seeds can be re-harvested and donated back to the library where the process starts all over again.
Participants will enjoy free access to high quality food crop seeds along with information to increase their knowledge of agriculture.
The idea may be a new one to Minnesota, but it is not so new to humankind.
"I think at one level, people are surprised and excited by this notion that 'oh, we can check out seeds and grow them without any cost'. But if we remember that this is what communities and people have been doing for 12-thousand years." Said Director of Institute for a Sustainable Future, Jamie Harvie.
The program was developed through an initial partnership with the Institute for a Sustainable Future and now includes the St. Louis County Extension Master Gardeners and the Duluth Community Garden Program. The program is also supported by the Lake Superior Good Food Charter and was endorsed unanimously by the Duluth City Council in August, 2012.
"We will be developing our own regionally adapted seed stock. So, the nature of seed saving is that you save the best seeds, so we'll be developing varieties of seeds that are best suited for our Northern climate." Said Local Food Organizer of Institute for a Sustainable Future, Kelly Erb.
The movement to have seed libraries has been growing in recent years with just about 60 seed libraries now open across the United States.
"In many ways it's helping improve the resilience of our community and creating yet another model of how citizens are engaging and supporting access to models of ownership, whether it's parks, libraries and so forth that really benefit everybody." Said Harvie.
University of Minnesota Duluth Greenhouse Director Deb Shubat will jump start the public education on seed saving with a free seminar next Thursday in the Duluth Public Library's Green Room.