USA – Get the local plant diversity, seed libraries?


Some of the hundreds of seed libraries have already arisen in the United States. People borrow books and get seeds given to grow at home fruit and vegetables – also in the Ocean Beach Library in San Diego.

At first glance, the Ocean Beach Library is different in San Diego, hardly any of the other public libraries: The visitors comb through the shelves, sit at tables and read Newspapers or use the free Computer. However, on the counter, where you borrow books, there is also a packet of seed.

There are dozens of varieties that are listed in a card catalog alphabetically by name and country of origin. Since the spring of 2019, the visitors to the library can take the seeds home and plant.

The hope is that at least some of the 150 members of the seed library come back in the autumn with their harvest, and interesting stories. As in the case of public libraries it is a question, something to use and to share.

For Destiny Rivera it was quite normal, books and seeds to offer. The library assistant, and Amateur gardener, has brought the project to life. She grew up in Hawaii and has inherited the green thumb from her father.

The seed library will inform users about the typical plants of your Region

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The Ocean Beach Library is one of the latest seed libraries that have been opened since 2011. Over five hundred, there are now in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. The idea goes back to the Seed Library Network, founded by a group of California activists who advocate for social justice and sustainable food. At the time, published a voluntary helper Online guidelines and information to help others build one of your own seed library.

“People come and tell, that you keep for years seeds in your Garage,” says Rivera and makes it clear what is the role of the library users to play in the establishment of the seed stock. The Ocean Beach Library also received donations from the community so they could start the project.

More variety in food

The Seed Library Network wants to inform people about the unique plant species and soil types in the regions – be it in the mountains, on the coast, in the desert, in the countryside or in the city. To meet the needs of the individual communities, each library is a little bit different.

In Ocean Beach, Rivera saw it as an opportunity, the ever growing Food scene to add in the coastal town of something new. A farmer’s market, community gardens and a Food co-operative is already in place.

The library also cooperates with experienced landscape gardeners in the district of San Diego. Together, they have developed a series of Workshops, in which people, regardless of their level of knowledge, learn how to seed can be keep and which gardening techniques are good.

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Leigh Watson Adams, landscape planner and already an experienced member of the seed library has taken part in it, it is also a garden to meet lover.

“If you leave something out of the seeds grow and the Plant will take care of it the whole time, well, this is definitely an advantage,” says Adams. “It’s like you’re cheering for the Plant to Grow.”

Members of the community to donate seeds to the library

To save seed, is also a means to promote the diversity of plants and food, especially in times, where the four large corporations Corteva, ChemChina, Bayer and BASF, control about 60 percent of the global seed market, says Tribe food activist Nathan Lou, co-founder of the nonprofit organization, and Mongolian.

“A chance to make use of this industrial agricultural production independently, it is their own food and medical plants to grow,” says Lou.

In the Workshops his organization shows to the residents of San Diego, how to garden and plant breeds. With members of the library in Ocean Beach. He highlights what is assumed of food activists, and by studies of the FAO, it is confirmed: The control and patenting of seeds by companies could lead to the plant diversity is being lost, because the companies focus on only a few crops such as wheat and soy.

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“Seed is a natural resource that belongs to all. You should not be used by a handful of companies, and manipulated the controls,” says Lou.

Thus, unusual fruits and vegetables not from the dining table to disappear, you should be, especially locally, and harvested and planted. Lou has a large garden plot in the district of San Diego, where he grows many old varieties of plants for his family and friends. To have the necessary seed, is in his opinion an essential part of the whole process.

San Diego also has gardens, a farmer’s market, community, and a Food Cooperative

Drive for the seed saver

In 2016, Nathan Lou or the Ocean Beach Library, the seed to California, belong-rescuers, boost to get, when then-Governor Jerry Brown signed the so-called Seed Democracy and Exchange Act.

The law exempts the non-commercial seed trade of a labelling requirement and inspection stipulations and Nebraska, Illinois and Minnesota. These Federal States have already adopted similar laws.

“It is an important law that gives people the opportunity to trade with seed, without that you can be made liable or in a legal dispute get,” says Lou.

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Rivera adds that the seed library is a work in progress. If the project goes further, strongly depends on the neighborhood.

So far, however, they are optimistic and are looking for Volunteers to help to sort the seed packets and archive. A few hundred have already been issued as a donation. On the Facebook page to get users to share their photos of old tomato and bean varieties, drawn from the seeds. In posts and comments, you advise each other, how to store newly harvested seed at best, so you can take him to the library.

“What gives me hope for the future, is that it is a community project,” she says. “And people want to join.”

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    Barren Icescape

    Spitsbergen belongs to Norway; the island group is approximately as large as Belgium and Switzerland. Wherever you look: small mountains with flattened tops. Trees? Wrong! The air is crystal clear, the sky bright blue. A breathtaking landscape. In the summer it is 24 hours of light in Winter is always dark, then the temperature drops to 25 degrees Celsius below Zero.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    International Arctic Research

    For several years, the Region has become a hub for the international Arctic research. Marine biologists, meteorologists, geologists, geophysicists and ice researchers use Svalbard for their scientific activities.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    Climate change has arrived

    On Spitsbergen, there are about 350 glaciers. Climate change has arrived here: The glaciers are receding, even in this century, the entire Arctic region could be ice-free in summer. The number of so-called area also fish and bird species has increased. So, for example, mackerel from warmer waters and zones are migrated to the coasts of Spitsbergen.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    Structure Changing Village

    The capital of Svalbard: Nearly 2,500 people live in Longyearbyen, with its colorful wooden houses on the Ice, a side valley of the Isfjord. Once Longyearbyen and Spitsbergen for their coal were known. In 1906 the industrial-scale mining began today, not much of it, with a few Mines left.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    Remote Outpost

    Remained of the logistical effort: Each and every light bulb, every Apple, every piece needs to be flown in steel or with the ship from 950 kilometers away on the Norwegian mainland brought in.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    Hidden Input

    Just under a kilometers from Longyearbyen away the treasure chamber is located: From the outside of the concrete, narrow entrance is visible, which seems to grow from the snow-capped mountain.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    Mountain bunker

    Behind the entrance is a tube leads like 120-Meter-long, gently downward-sloping concrete Tunnel deep into the mountain. On the ceiling, the silvery shimmering line system depends on, among other things, for the cooling system. The temperature is a constant Minus seven degrees Celsius in summer and in Winter.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    The Seed Vault

    At the end of the tunnel, the door to the vault. The Arctic cold of Spitsbergen to protect the seeds as a natural shield. Behind it is the fear that, at present, no one can predict what the consequences of the declining diversity of species for the human family.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    Inviolable Safe

    Spitsbergen is an ideal location to store seeds: Norway leads no wars. In addition, the Region in accordance with the “spitzberg Treaty” of 1920, a demilitarized Zone. The area is geomorphologically stable. In addition, the seed vault is located 130 meters above sea level, even the Floods could not hurt him.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    Supplies from all corners

    An average of three times a year, a hive of activity. Then the seeds will be delivered and disappear in the tunnels. The storage facilities have a total capacity of 4.5 million varieties of crops. Each type is represented with an average of 500 seeds. Consequently, space for about 2.25 billion seeds in the three vault rooms. Currently, however, only used the medium-sized room.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    Protection in use

    Recently, due to the civil war in Syria, stored seeds have been recovered – for the first Time in the history of the seed vault. The addressee was the International center for agricultural research in dry regions: It is mainly drought-called resistant varieties of cereals in the Middle East. In the meantime, has moved the organization’s headquarters to Beirut.

  • Treasure chamber for seeds

    Seeds of the future?

    The seeds are stored, among other things, in silver, hermetically-sealed aluminum packaging. Currently, Spitsbergen kept 865.000 seed samples of 5.103 types of plants from all over the world, from Afghanistan to Central African Republic. The official catalogue shows samples from 217 countries.

    Author: Michael Marek