Alberni library launches seed lending program

A launch for the seed lending library takes place Wednesday (Feb. 4) from 2–4 p.m.

Maggie Hodge-Kwan

Maggie Hodge-Kwan

Take a seed, give a seed—that’s the premise behind the new seed lending library at the Port Alberni library.

“You borrow some seeds, you grow them out and harvest the seeds and you return fresh seeds to the library for the next year,” said Alberni Valley Transition Town Society (AVTTS)member Charles Thomas.

The seed library is happening thanks to a partnership between the library and Transition Town with grant money from Island Health (VIHA).

Transition Town has ties to VIHA through their food hub initiative, an effort by VIHA to support food security planning in various communities. The society is currently in the process of setting one up in the Alberni Valley and has grant money from VIHA for the project.

“It’s trying to maintain seed lines and develop a mechanism for maintaining seed lines within the community so we always have seeds,” said Thomas.

In 2012, Helene Dufour, VIHA’s community’s nutritionist sent Maggie Hodge Kwan, children and youth customer services librarian at the library, an e-mail about a seed lending library in a different community.

Hodge Kwan took the idea to AVTTS.

“I talked about it, there was some enthusiasm and so we got started,” Hodge Kwan said.

The key to getting the seed lending library off the ground was securing enough seeds.

“Quite a few of the ones we have are from local farmers and gardeners but we’ve had donations as well from companies like Saltspring Seeds, Westcoast Seeds and Acre Creek Heirloom Seeds,” said Hodge Kwan. “We’ve got a nice wide variety of different kinds of vegetables and we’re ready to have the public consume them.”

The seeds are free to the public and work on an honour system. Take what you need and return what you can to help keep the seed lending library going. All you need is a library card.

The seed lending library is hosting a launch at the library in Echo Centre on Wednesday, Feb. 4 from 2-4 p.m.