Nfld. & Labrador

Seed library shares space with books in St. John's

Talk about food for thought!

A.C. Hunter Library makes room for gardeners to swap seeds and advice

Sarah Crocker is one of the organizers of the seed library project in St. John's. (Paula Gale/CBC)

A group of gardeners in St. John's is partnering with a public library to plant new interest in growing food and flowers.

The A.C. Hunter Library in the Arts and Culture Centre has made space for the St. John's Seed Library, a collection of resources for anyone with a backyard plot or tomato pots on the deck.

Anyone with a library membership can now borrow seeds and return new seeds from their crop to the library. People are encouraged to swap seeds as well.

"The library is a really nice meeting space and a repository of knowledge and there's a lot of information about seeds that are adjusted for our climate so the partnership really made sense," said seed library organizer Sarah Crocker.

Most gardeners have lots of seed to plant and share, according to the seed library. (Sarah Crocker)

Crocker, who owns Seed to Spoon — a small organic farm in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's — said the seed project started in 2016 as a way to enhance food security in a province that imports much of its produce.

"We see the need to have those reliable sources of seed and to put them in the hands of many people, so we're all responsible for maintaining the stock."

The emphasis is on seeds that will grow in one year and won't cross-pollinate, she said.

"Peas and beans, and some things for fun … tomatoes are a really fun one that people love to save seeds from, and you're eating the fruit of your labour."

Crocker shows off some of the kale seed from her garden. She has a bucketful. (Sarah Crocker)

Crocker saved a kilogram of kale seed from her own farm and is sharing the bounty with the seed library. She also has sunflower seeds from the Aldedrice family, who had a huge garden in the Battery neighbourhood of St. John's for decades.

"With climate change and this crappy weather that we have, having things that are biodiverse and are adapted to our region is very important."

The library initiative will offer seeds until July, or until the stock runs out.