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  • HDT Team

A Seedtastic Opportunity

If you ask the average person what a seed library is, most likely they won’t know. So, we’re here to help out! According to Mary H. Dyer, a writer for Gardening Know How, a seed library is just how it sounds - it loans seeds to the public in hope to preserve the shared plant varieties through propagation and further seed sharing. Usually, seed libraries maintain their seed collections through donations from members. Continue reading to learn about the history of seed libraries, and their many benefits.


The first ever contemporary seed library was established in 1999 at the Berkeley Ecology Center, and was called the Bay Area Seed Ecology Seed Interchange Library (BASIL). The first seed library established in a public library, however, was in Gardiner, New York. Ken Greene developed it in 2004. Since then, seed libraries have expanded, and there are around 450 libraries across the globe. That’s a lot of seeds!


So, what’s all the buzz about seed libraries? Why are they so great? Below are a number of reasons why seed libraries are beneficial to our community.

  1. They provide free seeds to gardeners, and open new possibilities to community members who have never gardened.

  2. They save and share plant genetics that are of good quality, and that grow well in the microclimate of that specific region.

  3. They teach new self-reliant gardening skills.

Since the early 1900s, the variety of domesticated plants cultivated globally has decreased immensely. Saving and sharing seeds promotes agricultural biodiversity, and helps to conserve plant varieties.

Local Connection

I bet you’re eager to know if there is a seed library in your area. There is in fact! The Pine River Seed Library, located in the Pine River, MN branch of the Kitchigami Library system, was established with the intent to make seeds available to the community at no cost. Furthermore, the City of Winona Parks and Recreation Department and Winona State University are partnering on the first Seed Bank and Library started in southern Minnesota. Achieving this incredible goal relies on multiple levels of support including local citizens saving and donating seeds to the library. This effort is very community based from local individuals recognizing the need and guiding this initiative, area nonprofit serving as the fiscal host, and local library hosting the physical seed library. Please consider supporting seed access in one of the following ways: donating, hosting a speaker from the Seed Library, and/or helping share about the Seed Library through your networks and membership.

HDT gardener, Dave W. mans the seed library table at the Pine River Seed Library.

Contact Information

If interested in donating or getting in touch with the Pine River Seed Library, reach out to one of the contacts below.

Barb Kaufman:

Dave Wilson:

Happy Dancing Turtle :


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