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Wednesday September 14, 6 pm
Pine Point Branch Library, 204 Boston Road, Springfield, MA

Thursday September 22, 6 pm
Forest Park Branch Library, 380, Belmont Ave., Springfield MA

The Springfield City Library, New Growth Gardens and Artists in Context are launching a “seed library” at the Library. A seed library (or seed bank) is a place where seeds are safely stored and protected so that community members can have access to FREE seeds for spring 2012 planting. The seeds will be archived in a re-purposed wooden library card catalog. Join us on September 14 for a hands-on workshop and learn how to save seeds for future planting. All vegetables for the seed saving will be supplied. Fresh-from-the-garden refreshments will be provided!

To register, contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it - Doris Madsen, Reference Librarian, Springfield City Library
*** Read the writeup in La Prensa about the Seed Bank project ***
*** Collecting heirloom tomato seeds from Redfire Farm  ***
*** Watch a video of the project ***
*** Read an essay response to the project by one of the Pine Branch Reference Librarians ***

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seedlibraryA seed bank is a place to store seeds. But it is more than a storage facility.  A seed bank is a commons. That is, a seed bank is an example of a community managing shared resources (e.g seeds, air, water) without diminishing those assets. In fact, commons based management schemes are supposed to restore and replenish shared resources - not mine them til collapse.

But commons are not just platforms for community-based management. Underlying the commons management approach is a sorely needed ethic of collaboration and participation. Cicero, the Roman Statesman, once wrote “freedom is participation in power.” Because commons invite participation, they invite people to exercise power. Let me give an example.

Plant a single tomato seed in rich soil and yield pounds upon pounds of plump tomatoes - all containing dozens of seeds. Then give some of the seeds from the healthiest tomatoes to a community run seed bank so that other members can freely access and plant them. Once a couple people start planting and saving seeds, the number of seeds available to the seed bank, and thus available to the community, grows exponentially.

Imagine starting a seed bank today that 30 years from now is so large that all Springfield citizens interested in growing healthy food can get seeds for free.  It can happen. By partnering with the unimaginable fertility of nature, Springfield can launch a commons style seed bank.

Commons scholar David Bollier writes, “In its largest sense, the commons is about stewardship of the things that we own in common as human beings.  It’s about ensuring that we protect them and pass them on, undiminished, to future generations.”

New Growth Gardens is proud to work with the Springfield City Library, and Artists in Context to launch the Springfield Seed Bank.

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