Carmel Magazine

CM Summer 2014_Final

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Page 85 of 259

Seed Lending Librar y Takes Root in Monterey B efore the advent of the seed catalog, gardeners grew and saved seeds from their own plants rather than purchasing packets each season. Now, a free seed-lending program at the Monterey Public Librar y encourages new and experienced growers to return to those roots. The Monterey Seed Library has served patrons from Santa Cruz to Big Sur since its springtime debut, cultivating a culture of sharing, supporting biodiversity and introducing patrons to the process of collecting and sav- ing seeds. The process is simple: After completing a membership form, par- ticipants access a card catalog filled with packets holding approximately 10 seeds each. The collection currently includes heirloom and non-GMO seeds for beans, peas, lettuce, tomatoes and other plants that patrons check out for home use. While borrowers are invited to return their own harvested seeds at the end of the growing season, it's not required. "People are welcome to take seeds so they can enjoy growing food and caring for something, even if they can't return or donate financially," says Francesca Garibaldi, Monterey Public Library administrative assistant. She first proposed the seed lending idea to library leaders a few years ago, and then implemented the project together with California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) environmental studies major Heather Ruth Cunningham and other university students. A CSUMB Alumni Association Capstone grant and a seed donation from the nonprofit Seed Savers Exchange supported the initial launch. Community members con- tributed additional seeds during a spring collection event. Garibaldi is now working with experienced local gardeners to create workshops and educational materials that guide beginners through the growing, harvesting and seed saving process. From her perspective, pro- viding access to free seeds enhances the library's role as an educational, cultural and social resource. "It's a great way to connect with our community, and it's another resource for enhancing our quality of life," says Garibaldi. The Monterey Seed Library is open during regular Monterey Public Library hours. For more information, email or visit —Renee Brincks SHORTCUTS NEIGHBORS Megan Tolbert and Francesca Garibaldi of the Monterey Public Library stand with Library Director Bill Michael next to the new seed-lending catalog. Borrowers can donate and take heirloom and non-GMO seeds for beans, peas, lettuce, tomatoes and more. 84 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S U M M E R / F A L L 2 0 1 4 Photo: Michelle Maddox

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