The Jeuns

‘Free Seed Library now available in the community’

March 30, 2024 | by The Jeuns

The University Libraries in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is introducing a new initiative this spring – a Seed Library for the Western Michigan University community. Starting on Monday, April 1, students, employees, and community members can obtain free seeds from Waldo Library to grow at home.

This Seed Library is particularly beneficial for new gardeners or individuals with limited space, such as those residing in dorms or apartments. Instead of purchasing an excess of seeds they may not have room for, library users can take a small quantity of seeds from the Seed Library cabinet located on Waldo Library’s first floor.

As the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time for home gardeners to prepare their pots, planters, and plots and start their seeds. The Seed Library will offer a selection of 57 varieties of vegetables, flowers, herbs, and other seeds for individuals to choose from.

Mary O’Kelly, the associate dean of education and user services, emphasized the satisfaction of enjoying a meal with food grown from one’s own efforts, even if it’s just simple lettuce and herbs from a kitchen windowsill. O’Kelly, along with a dedicated team, gathered free seed donations, packaged them, and made them available to community growers.

The purpose of seed libraries is to promote sustainable agriculture, establish social systems around food security, and share cultural knowledge about food sources and traditional gardening practices. While public libraries have seen a rise in seed libraries over the years, university-based seed libraries are less common.

In addition to providing seeds, the University Libraries has compiled resources to assist new gardeners in getting started. Educational programs on seed saving and native plants will also be offered later this year.

This inaugural year of the Seed Library aims to expand with the support of the WMU community. Everyone is encouraged to try their hand at growing seeds. For more information, visit the Seed Library webpage. Western students and employees can also find additional details on the Seed Library @ WMU Libraries Teams channel.


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