“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Mom might have been wrong.
Located within the Manchester District Library, the Manchester Seed Library is a resource maintained by the Manchester Community Garden Committee intended for the benefit of our entire community. The seed library is a wooden box full of both vegetable and flower seed packets that are free to anyone who will use them. Community members (no library card required) are welcome to look through the collection and take any seeds they will plant. Left overs can be returned and seeds from other sources can be donated to the collection for other users. Everyone is encouraged to collect seeds in the fall from plants they grow and add those seeds to the library.
The seed library will support our community gardeners, from beginners to experts, by providing access to free seeds and by encouraging seed-saving. The saving of seeds is extremely important. It preserves biodiversity and increases available options. Did you know that only five large multinational corporations control 75% of the world’s vegetable seed market? Many varieties have one single commercial source. If that source discontinues the variety, it is gone, and the genetic pool for the vegetable shrinks.
On a more personal level, seed-saving allows a gardener to preserve characteristics of choice. If you only save seeds from your best plants year after year, you will end up with a strain of plant that is specifically adapted to Manchester and will therefore outperform commercial seeds of the same variety grown to maintain neutral characteristics.
Finally, seed-saving helps preserve our right to save seeds. Because of variety patents, licensing agreements, and “terminator gene technology” which is in the developmental phase, the numbers of varieties of seed that it is legal to save is shrinking. By saving varieties it is legal to save, you help keep open that option for future generations.
Manchester District Library is excited to be a part of this new community resource. If you have questions, please see library staff or email Manchester Community Garden Committee member Sara Swanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.