A number of ‘seed libraries’ across the country are encouraging borrowers to grow their own flowers and produce.

A seed library is a community service where anyone can check out a packet of vegetable or flower seeds before planting them and getting some seeds from the mature plants. Then you can return those new seeds to the library, where others can check them out and continue the cycle.


At Chicago’s Round Lake Public Library, for example, anyone can borrow from their collection of seeds for free, no library card needed. Borrowers can optionally return the seeds once their own plants sprout, based on an honor system.

Many of the libraries and museums with seed libraries also offer classes on organic gardening and how to harvest seeds to collect after their plants have grown.

According to Fremont Public Library librarian Rachel Razek, the seed library at that library has been a great success, engaging the local community with growing their own flowers and food.

“That’s traditionally what people would do,” said Razek. “We kind of lost that knowledge. That’s the whole goal of seed libraries, to help people reacquire that knowledge we’ve always had.”



“To me, it’s a really nice distillation of what the purpose of a library is,” added Razek. “You’re sharing resources, and the whole community is wishing you well.”

This is a very cost-effective means to grow a garden,” said Holly Braun, a member of the Round Lake Area Garden Club. “Seeds are expensive [at the store.] Plus, you get to try new things to grow.”

In New York state’s Hudson Valley, the Hudson Valley Seed Library has tried to become a hub for local heirloom seeds.


Ken Greene, the Hudson Valley Seed Library’s founder, said that the group is always looking for interesting new varieties of seeds to preserve for the community.

“We love when people give us seed from the farm of some kooky guy they know who lives on rutabagas and cabbage on the Cape,” said Greene.


Grow Your Own Veggies At Home!

Whether or not you have a seed library in your area, you can grow your own food too! Take a look at this Beginner’s Guide to Growing an Edible Garden for some tips on getting started. Growing your own veggies can have amazing benefits for the planet. Here are some other great reasons to start a garden.


Even if you don’t have any packets of seeds, you can also try growing your own produce from food scraps!

Not sure what to grow? Check out these veggies and herbs to grow in your garden!


Still looking for garden ideas like How to Grow Your Own Greens? Try the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day.

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