West Coast Seed Libraries

Explore the bounty of your local seed library

Scarlet runner beans. Photo: Lorene Edwards Forkner

Scarlet runner beans. Photo: Lorene Edwards Forkner

As Pacific Horticulture contributor Jennifer Jewell wrote in Seeds, her recent article that appeared in our winter 2017 issue, “Seeds are critically important to all of life—for the future health and diversity of the world’s plants, and as an important food source for wildlife and humans.”

There is generosity and abundance in every seed; plant a single seed and reap in numbers. But the price of continued viability is planting—and participation. Today, thanks to the efforts of generous gardeners and their communities, a growing network of seed libraries are springing up everywhere. Like their paper/digital analogs, seed libraries are created for the purpose of freely sharing information; only in this case visitors check out seeds. Often seed varieties offered by your local seed library are already tried and tested seasonal favorites, regionally adapted, and worth of being passed along.

Essentially, seed libraries offer seed for free food and flowers in exchange for a reciprocal harvest and your stewardship efforts. West Coast gardeners can choose from those resources listed below or visit the seed library social network for information about how to:

  • Find a local seed library
  • Start a seed library in your community
  • Exchange ideas and navigate hurdles with other seed savers and seed libraries
  • Connect with additional regional and national resources to support your efforts

“By saving and sharing seeds we participate in an ancient human activity while working towards a future of food sovereignty.” –Hypha Seed Library

 California

Bay Area Seed Interchange Library (BASIL)
Berkeley—several locations

Chico Seed Lending Library
Chico

Community Seed Exchange
Sebastopol

Mother Lode Seed Library
Placerville

Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library
Richmond

Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA)
Los Angeles

Seedfolks Community Seed Libraries
Oakland

Paeonia brownii is native to the western United States. Photo: Jennifer Jewell

Paeonia brownii is native to the western United States. Photo: Jennifer Jewell

 

Oregon

Evans Valley Community Seed Library
Wimer
on Facebook @EvansValleyCommunitySeedLibrary

Northeast Portland Tool Library
(offers tools and seeds)
Portland

Student Sustainability Center
Free seeds for the Portland State University community
Portland

Washington

Hypha Seed Library
Seattle

King County Seed Lending Library
Seattle—several locations

Lopez Community Land Trust
Lopez Island

Olympia Seed Exchange
Olympia

 

The Seed Book cover

New to seed saving or looking to hone your seed-saving skills? Check out The Seed Garden: The Art and Practice of Seed Saving, from Seed Savers Exchange, edited by Lee Buttala and Shanyn Siegel. Home gardeners and seasoned horticulturists alike will treasure this beautifully illustrated and comprehensive resource. Read Pacific Horticulture’s review of this rich resource here.