Now is the time to be getting community members to volunteer to save seeds for next year. We have no idea what the availability of seed will be, but we can be certain that the need and desire to grow more food locally will continue to be high. A great way to get more locally-grown seed is to have a Grow a Row Seed Steward Program. Put out emails to people who you have on your email list, extend the invitation to Master Gardeners, permaculture guilds, garden clubs, and via social media, including Nextdoor, Facebook, and Twitter.
Here is an example of a post on Nextdoor. We have a link to a Google form they can fill in. We also have a list of varieties of what we are asking people to grow out. People can say I'm willing to grow a pole bean or they can specify which pole bean they'd like to grow. You may also want to do some direct asks of friends and neighbors that you know are gardeners. Continue to put the request out on social media as posts are not seen by everyone. I also had some old basil seed and was hesitant to give it out as part of our grow out program so I started the plants and then people could ask for 4 or 6 of a particular variety and were asked to propagate by cutting to share with neighbors and friends and also increase their own basil and also save the seeds. It's also good to include a resource such as a video about how to save a particular crop so that folks have reliable information to start saving seeds if they haven't done s before.
Here is the post from Nextdoor tonight:
Become a Grow a Row Seed Steward! We need lots of vegetable seeds to help build local resilience in our community. Join us and become a Grow a Row Seed Steward this year! (No previous seed saving experience required.) Commit to growing a row of some vegetable to seed or learn how to hand pollinate a squash you are already growing. Eat the squash, and share the seeds. We are specifically looking for vegetable seeds to be grown. So you can save seeds from something you already grow or we can provide seeds for you to grow out (and seed saving instructions). If you are able to help out, please fill in the form, https://forms.gle/na3EbfUPS34nUSyZ9, so we know what we will have in stock next season or next year. We're also offering a free, online class on Seed Saving in a Time of Crisis - a How to Class on July 14. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/seed-saving-in-a-time-of-crisis-a-how-to-class-tickets-109589410878.
I then have a bunch of brown bags and fill them with the seed requests and email people to pick them up and I also include our Super Easy seed saving brochure in the bag. I will follow up with an email with seed saving tips for all the crops and send it to the group to save time and inspire the others to save additional crops. Peas and justice, Rebecca Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library