What is a Seed Library?

A seed library is a depository of seeds held in trust for the members of that library. Members come to the library and borrow seed for their garden.  They grow the plants in their garden and at the end of the season, they let a few plants ‘go to seed.’  From those plants, they collect seeds and return the same amount of seed (or more) as they borrowed at the beginning of the growing season.  Seeds are free to members.

The library is both a collection of seeds and a community of gardeners.  Since seed is a living thing, it must be renewed each year somewhere by someone or unique varietals can become extinct.  Even growing one seed and returning it to the library is a valuable contribution.

We offer lessons in seed-saving and gardening at each meeting, as well as in-depth classes throughout the year.  Gardeners of all skill levels are welcome to participate!

To join, please visit our membership page. Lifetime membership is currently $10.

If you would like to find a particular seed, click here to search the Venice Branch Inventory or the San Fernando Valley Branch Inventory.

10 Great Things About a Seed Library!

  1. A far wider variety of seeds can be kept fresh by many people growing rather than one person growing in one garden.  We all gain when we combine our efforts.
  2. Participants can save hundreds of dollars each season by growing their own food and saving their own seed.  In Southern California, we are blessed with a climate that allows us to grow food year-round!
  3. A seed library ensures we have a food supply that is reproducible, local, uncontaminated by unproven genetic modification, and free from external controls.
  4. Our seed library is focused on varietals ideal for home gardeners (full flavor and variety in a small garden) rather than commercial varietals, which often sacrifice flavor and personality for the sake of uniformity and durability for shipping.
  5. Over time the plants will change in response to our local climate and soil, and gradually will become better seeds for our area.
  6. We get to hang out with other like-minded gardeners!
  7. Growing our own food and saving our own seed continues the fine American tradition of self-reliance.
  8. Gardening nourishes the soul as well as the body, and is a great source of relief from the chaos of urban life.
  9. As caretakers of seeds, we cooperate with nature in carrying on priceless genetic material for future generations.  Seeds are a sacred trust passed down to us by our ancestors.  The seed library helps us to best honor that gift.
  10. By growing a plant from seed, eating its fruit and returning it back to seed, we become fully engaged in the rhythm of nature, grow more attuned to the world around us, and gain a deeper understanding of our own place in the web of life.

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