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What Are Seed Libraries And Why Are They Important? An Explainer

When in doubt, grow local.

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If you've ever gardened or planted anything, you know that seeds are awesome little miracles of nature.

What you might not know is that many libraries and other public spaces have an awesome resources called seed library.

According to Atlas Obscura, there are more than 500 seed library programs around the country.
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According to Atlas Obscura, there are more than 500 seed library programs around the country.

Seed libraries are more or less exactly what they sound like: Collections of local herb, vegetable, flower, and fruit seeds that people can "borrow" and then plant on their own.

The libraries first started popping up 10 or so years ago as a way of helping local seeds and plants thrive.
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The libraries first started popping up 10 or so years ago as a way of helping local seeds and plants thrive.

They play a big part in educating the public on local agriculture, bringing new plants into circulation, and promoting biodiversity.

Many seeds and crops like wheat and corn are genetically uniform, making them vulnerable to being wiped out by disease or pests. Seed libraries help crops and plants adapt to different climates and ecologies, ensure food security, and provide an alternative to genetically-modified crops.
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Many seeds and crops like wheat and corn are genetically uniform, making them vulnerable to being wiped out by disease or pests. Seed libraries help crops and plants adapt to different climates and ecologies, ensure food security, and provide an alternative to genetically-modified crops.

Growing plants this way lets you learn more about the land around you and what thrives there, and grow awesome heirloom varieties, like this corn.

While some of the libraries let people take seeds for free, others ask that people grow the seeds into full-blown plants, and then bring the seeds from those plants back to the library to continue the cycle of lending and borrowing.

Just like a regular library!
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Just like a regular library!

If you want to find out if there's a seed library near you, check out online listings like this one, or ask at your local library.

Happy planting!

MGM / Via gfycat.com