Seed libraries are sprouting up all over. It’s estimated that there are more than 300 currently operating in the United States. How does the model work? A lot like a traditional library. Gardeners check seeds out when it’s time to plant a garden. Gardeners (may) check seeds back in, after the harvest. This grassroots effort – and there’s a populist feel to it – hearkens back to a time when people would save and share seeds with one another. The reasons for participating today vary, but include concerns about maintaining biodiversity in a time of increasing monoculture. But there’s a rub: some officials want seed libraries to comply with seed labeling requirements.

This is a piece you won’t want to miss. Tom Ashbrook (@tomashbrooknpr) reports for NPR’s On Point, out of WBUR in Boston. (Audio: approximately 47 minutes). Guests include Ken Greene, who owns the Hudson Valley Seed Library; Belle Star, co-founder of the Seed School; Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill Restaurants; and Johnny Zook, who works for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.


Related Links:

Syrian seed bank wins award to continue work despite civil war

Seed index may “future-proof” farming

Small farmers hold the seeds to food diversity in their hands

The art that sold California