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Seed Lending Library Opens in San Francisco

Media Contacts:

Ania Moniuszko | 415-819-9663 | anna_moniuszko@yahoo.com
Beverly Pitzer | 917-208-1968 | beverly.pitzer@gmail.com
Aimee Hill | 212-203-5003 | mobus23@gmail.com
Michelle Jeffers | 415-557-4282 | mjeffers@sfpl.org

First Seed Lending Library Opens in San Francisco with Two Initial Locations in Potrero Branch of San Francisco Public Library and Hayes Valley Farm

Next Seed Saving class is June 4, 3:30 p.m., Potrero Branch Library

Seed Lending libraries are sprouting up across the state with at least six in Northern California and one coming soon in Los Angeles. With the recent opening of two branches in San Francisco, community members are bringing food safety, biodiversity protection, and urban farming back into their own hands. The first two branches of the San Francisco Seed Library, a project of Transition SF and the San Francisco Permaculture Guild, are open for lending at Hayes Valley Farm and as a pilot project at the Potrero Branch of the San Francisco Public Library; the next seed saving class is on June 4 at 3:30 in the Potrero Branch Program Room.

The process is simple; residents choose from a list of vegetable seeds available in the Seed Library collection, borrow them, and plant their seeds. After they have harvested their crops, they save the seeds from the heartiest and healthiest of their harvest and return the seeds to the same branch. Over time, each SF Seed Library branch will include a wide selection of seeds that are best suited to each micro-climate since they have grown to full fruition, responding to the local soil, climate, and plant/animal diversity. 

"It seemed like a natural fit for Potrero Branch to pilot a seed lending program at the library," states Lia Hillman, Potrero Branch Manager of San Francisco Public Library. "Potrero Hill residents love gardening, and there are a number of burgeoning private and community gardens on the hill. The Seed Library offers the library the opportunity to promote urban sustainable organic gardening in our neighborhoods by disseminating seeds. The library actively seeks ways in which to participate in the greening of our city and promoting the health of our communities. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Seed Library in offering programs related to the seed collection. Please join us on June 4 @ 3:30 or September 4 @ 2:30 to learn how to save seeds. The programs will take place in the Potrero Branch Program Room."

San Francisco Public Library, through its Green Stacks initiative, aims at encouraging library users to live a more eco-friendly life. With the pilot seed lending library project at the Potrero Branch Library, users can borrow seeds, as well as check out books, tap into databases, ask a librarian and find other information resources about urban gardening and native plants.

"The future of our world depends on how we steward our land, soil, water, and seeds and pass them on to future generations." states Dr. Vandana Shiva, physicist; founder of The Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology; and recipient of the 2010 Sydney Peace prize for her commitment to social justice and her scientific analysis of environmental sustainability. Seed saving has been the primary method of sustainable agriculture for thousands of years, yet in relative recent history, genetically modified seeds produced by some seed corporations, including those that carry a Terminator gene to not propagate, threaten to contaminate our whole food supply with genetically engineered seeds, diminishing plant diversity, reducing the natural resilience of crops, and crushing the livelihood of farmers around the world. 

Kevin Bayuk, Permaculture Design Instructor and San Francisco Permaculture Guild Board Member adds, "The cultural practice of selecting and saving seeds demonstrates how we can catch and store energy -- though small, each seed is a dense package of incredible potential abundance of delicious local food, community connection and an astonishing amount of additional seeds to save! Sharing that abundance through libraries is a way for us to practice redistributing natural surplus resulting in greater biodiversity, easier gardening and most importantly, fun in learning and connecting."

A committed group of people from Transition SF and the San Francisco Permaculture Guild volunteered their time and knowledge to prepare the Seed Library for its launch. Ania Moniuszko, Transition SF Initiating Group Member, led this effort and collaborated closely with the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Permaculture Guild, "We wanted to create a community resource that will facilitate the free exchange of seeds along with the education on sowing, harvesting, and saving the seeds." Regarding her reasons for embarking on this project, Ania states, "We believe that this will enable the community to preserve and share seeds that thrive in our climates. I was inspired to create the SF Seed Library by the San Francisco Urban Agriculture movement, visionaries like Vandana Shiva, and the highly acclaimed 2004 documentary film, the Future of Food." 

For more information:

About Transition US and Transition SF 

Transition US is a nonprofit organization that provides inspiration, support, training, and networking for Transition Initiatives across the United States. These Initiatives are part of a vibrant, international grassroots movement that builds sustainability and community resilience in response to the challenges of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. Transition SF is an officially recognized Transition Initiative. It is a community group working to catalyze a resilient and relocalized San Francisco that can proactively address Peak Oil and Climate Change and transition to a low-energy, high-satisfaction future. http://www.transitionsf.org

About San Francisco Permaculture Guild

The San Francisco Permaculture Guild supports a local community of designers and those interested in permaculture by producing educational and social events, enabling local permaculture projects and providing opportunities to exchange information related to permaculture design. Permaculture is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non- material needs in a sustainable way bounded by the ethics of care of people, care of earth and reinvestment of surplus. Come to a meeting or join a project or discussion where we explore water conservation, natural building, growing food in the city, bees, solar energy, community building and much more. http://www.permaculture-sf.org