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Seeding ideas. A seed library sprouts at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus

Posted by stephanie rogers on March 11, 2014 in News, Learning That Lasts, Alumni & Friends

What do seeds and books have in common?  A library of course!

Seeding Ideas, a seed lending library has sprouted on the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus at the Faculty’s MacRae Library, launching officially on Monday, March 17th

“I grew up gardening,” explained Jolene Reid, Seed Library Coordinator.  “My parents were back-to-nature sort of folks.  We grew up with a strong value for soil and seeds….this seed library is a great way to honour the memory of my dad in my day-to-day life.”

What is a seed library?

A seed library is based on the premise of providing access to a collection of non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds that can be borrowed by members of the community.  Members grow the seeds and enjoy their harvest while letting a few plants return to seed.  These seeds will then be returned to the library for the next growing season’s collection.

“Libraries are all about providing access,” continued Jolene.  “With our seed lending library we are providing the community with a different kind of access – access to food security, access to fresh and healthy food, access to diverse varieties...it’s all about engaging the community in an innovative way through our Library.”

A first for the Faculty of Agriculture

With over 150 seed lending libraries across North America, Seeding Ideas is the first seed lending library within a Faculty of Agriculture in Canada.   The original collection of seeds for the library have been purchased from Annapolis Seeds in Middleton, Hope Seeds in Granville Ferry and Incredible Seeds in Lawrencetown providing borrowers with access to over 80 varieties of edibles and ornamentals. 

“We’re excited to have this opportunity to bring together the expertise from the Faculty of Agriculture with our campus and local community in such a fun and unique way,” added Elaine MacInnis, Head Librarian, MacRae Library.  The Library donated the initial funds to purchase the seeds to begin the collection.

A Seed Advisory Group

Seeding Ideas will be supported by an Advisory Group including teaching instructors and faculty members from the Agricultural Campus as well as community members and students.

The group includes faculty members Jeff Morton, AC Grounds Co-Manager, Cory Roberts- Waste Management Technician, Nancy McLean, Norman Goodyear and Tri Nguyen-Quang; Community members Leslie Brann, Lyn McBryan, Dick Cotterill; alumnus Ronak Desai; students William Munroe and Jessica Compagnon and Library staff members Verna Mingo, Elaine MacInnis and Chair Jolene Reid.

The group will help Seeding Ideas create a sustainable variety of seeds and facilitate workshops throughout the growing season as well as mentorship opportunities. 

“Gardeners are very good story tellers, added Reid.  “We want to capture the stories behind the seeds and track their history as well.   One of the seeds in our collection is a 1000-year-old ornamental tobacco seed.”

The collection should serve the community from early February until late June for borrowing and become active again during the autumn harvest for seed solicitation.  For more information please contact us at seed.library@dal.ca or like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/seeding.ideas

The official launch of the program will take place Monday, March 17th at 2:00 p.m. at the MacRae Library.  All are welcome.