What is a Community Seed Bank?
A community seed bank is a library of seeds available to anyone and everyone interested in the process of growing, eating and saving seed from a multitude of plants. It doesn't matter if you're a first time gardener or an advanced seed saver these seeds are free and open to all who would like to participate in nurturing healthy, and hearty native and heirloom varieties that are acclimated to our region.
It’s a place for the community to gather and share something that we all need to thrive. Self-reliance is a necessity for those of us hardy enough to brave the long, cold winters and far-spread communities. It can be hard to come by food that you can trust when all you have to rely on are the small groceries within a 25 mile radius. That’s why we’re building up a bank of seeds that will be free to all who are interested in growing their own food. The only condition is that we ask for your help to keep it stocked by taking a few extra steps at harvest time to save the seeds from the healthiest and most prolific plants in your garden.
Our seed bank is just one step to a more sustainable community.
Saving and Sharing Seeds
The seeds you borrow from the Washburn Community Seed Bank are free, and yet they are priceless. We hope you learn a lot as you experience the joys of gardening and seed saving. As you grow as a gardener and experience success in you garden, please consider bringing some seeds back to share the fruits of your labors with the seed bank community.
The seeds that you’ll find in our bank are all open-pollinated or heirloom varieties, meaning seeds saved from these plants will produce fruit the next season which will be the same as the parent plant. Our seeds are categorized by how difficult they are to save, not grow. Please feel free to try growing any seed that interests you. We all learn by trying new things.
When growing to save seed, please try to match the seed saving difficulty with your gardening expertise. Here are some guidelines for growing plants to save seed.
As the Wikipedia definition states:
"A seed library is an institution that lends or shares seed. It is distinguished from a seedbank in that the main purpose is not to store or hold germplasm or seeds against possible destruction, but to disseminate them to the public which preserves the shared plant varieties through propagation and further sharing of seed. Seed libraries usually maintain their collections through donations from members but may also operate as pure charity operations intent on serving gardeners and farmers. A common attribute of many seed libraries is to preserve agricultural biodiversity by focusing on rare, local, and heirloom seed varieties.
Seed libraries use varied methods for sharing seeds, primarily by:
-seed swaps otherwise known as seed exchanges, in which library members or the public meet and exchange seeds
-seed "lending," in which people check out seed from the library's collection, grow them, save the seed, and return seed from the propagated plants to the library
Seed libraries may function as programs of regular libraries, such as the program of the Richmond Public Library in California;or museums, such as the Hull-House Heirloom Seed Library, a program of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. Some have developed as programs of botanical gardens, such as that of the VanDusen Botanical Garden, or from gardening associations and research institutes, such as the Heritage Seed Library of Garden Organic. Other seed libraries have evolved from community sustainability or resilience efforts, such as the Bay Area Seed Interchange Library (BASIL) (the United States' oldest seed library, which developed from the Berkeley, California Ecology Center); and still others from the Slow Food movement, such as Grow Gainsville's seed program.