Topics

Collection Development? #GettingSeeds #SeedQuality #IncreasingReturns


Justine
 

Hello my fellow friends in seed!
Here in Pima County (Arizona) we're about to embark on a re-imagining of our Seed Library's collection development "protocols." Up until now, we've relied on donations from seed companies, local seed savers, and the odd purchase or two to fill our seed drawers. The only real criteria has been that they are OP, and if they're from locally saved seeds we ask questions that help us know if the person used precautions to prevent cross-pollination, and we don't accept things that are considered invasive to our area. Otherwise, we've accepted just about anything anyone gives us which has enabled us to make hundreds of different varieties available to gardeners to grow from--talk about celebrating the incredible diversity of our natural world! As we reflect on these past 8 years of community seed stewardship, particularly the goal of creating a regional self-sustained seed shed in Pima County we have begun consider how our collection choices might serve our community better in that regard. As we move forward with refocusing our collection (potentially minimizing and regionalizing it in the process), I wondered if other Seed Libraries had any wisdom/experiences/challenges they might share about their own process of collection development? 
I'm still trying to figure out how this Groups.io works, so hopefully this is going out to folks!

In seed solidarity, 

~Justine


bbhijosa
 

Hi from Madrid, I'm in the process of thinking how to make a seed library for only dye plants, and so I'm reading about others experience and I've also found this group. Now I'm reading a report about european community seed banks, and I thought that maybe can help. None of them is formally a library, but they all have a close relation with a community, usually an open one, not just a bunch of seed savers gathering for their own. They made a survey with lots of questions about organization, aims, history, technical issues, etc. Here it is: https://communityseedbanks.org/media/csb_in_europe_report.pdf

If there is anything (articles, papers, etc.) similar with seed librarians I'll be pleased to read it too :)

regards,
bonifacio barrio hijosa


El lun., 30 dic. 2019 a las 21:47, Justine (<Justine.Hernandez@...>) escribió:
Hello my fellow friends in seed!
Here in Pima County (Arizona) we're about to embark on a re-imagining of our Seed Library's collection development "protocols." Up until now, we've relied on donations from seed companies, local seed savers, and the odd purchase or two to fill our seed drawers. The only real criteria has been that they are OP, and if they're from locally saved seeds we ask questions that help us know if the person used precautions to prevent cross-pollination, and we don't accept things that are considered invasive to our area. Otherwise, we've accepted just about anything anyone gives us which has enabled us to make hundreds of different varieties available to gardeners to grow from--talk about celebrating the incredible diversity of our natural world! As we reflect on these past 8 years of community seed stewardship, particularly the goal of creating a regional self-sustained seed shed in Pima County we have begun consider how our collection choices might serve our community better in that regard. As we move forward with refocusing our collection (potentially minimizing and regionalizing it in the process), I wondered if other Seed Libraries had any wisdom/experiences/challenges they might share about their own process of collection development? 
I'm still trying to figure out how this Groups.io works, so hopefully this is going out to folks!

In seed solidarity, 

~Justine


SeedLibraries.net
 

Hola Justine,

I think it might be interesting to see how we can work with more community members and local partners to build our seed shed. It's something I keep wanting to do, but I have so much on my plate that I haven't built these relationships as much as I would have liked to have done....yet. :)

Some thoughts that come to mind about how to do that:
1.  Continue to do the One Seed, One Community Program and reach out to past participants if they want to do a grow out for a particular variety. I usually get a few people willing to grow things out with very little effort on my part. I also do this with my middle school students and always get a bunch of takers. Not a lot of returns, but there is at least a growing interest there and I usually get a few people returning something, which is awesome to get the students excited (and educated) about seed saving. My thinking is that these a number of these OSOC folks have the skills to do the "super easy" plants such as lettuce, beans, peas, and tomatoes. Hopefully some of them will then want to stretch and do some curcurbits.

2.  Reach out to local partners who can grow a row. For example, we have some awesome urban ag folks that are very focused on providing food for the community and having them grow a row of some variety is something they are often willing to do.

3.  Figure a way to get more schools saving seeds. Maybe connect with Master Gardeners that are already in the schools. Occidental Arts and Ecology Center has a nice K-5 seed saving education program. I'm working on some things for middle school, but it's still in a very draft form. We're actually working more with plant breeding so maybe not what you are looking for at the moment. 

Peas on Earth,

Rebecca


SeedLibraries.net
 

Dear Bonifacio,

That sounds like an exciting project! We have a drawer of dye plants in Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library. I must say that some of the plants can be quite weedy, such as madder. I've been afraid to plant woad since I was warned that one can take over. I imagine where someone lives can make a difference on how much they spread. 

We have a sweet little stamp that we use on packets that are dye plants and the drawer also has the image. Years ago we did a couple of natural dyeing classes through the seed library with a local natural dyer. They were a big hit!

Check out the page on SeedLibraries.net about dye plants. There is a picture of our dye stamp on it and some other resources. If you or someone else, does more with dye plants, we'd love to build this page out. If you are able to grow some fiber plants, you may want to consider adding those to your offerings.

You might want to look on the Sister Seed Library list to see  if there are any seed libraries near you. It's organized by country. I believe there are some in Spain. UK definitely has some seed libraries. If there is a seed library in particular that you are interested in connecting with but you can't reach them, let me know and I can reach out to them to connect you. 

Paz,
Rebecca


Betsy
 
Edited

Hello Justine,

To assist Common Soil with collection development when particular loved varieties are getting low I have reached out to local farmers and given them a larger amount of seed. For example, given like 150 lettuce seeds and asked them to let 30 go to seed and suggest they sell the rest to compensate for their time. Some had never saved seed before and it was an education process that helped these farmers develop their skill set while expanding the seed library community and maintaining a locally grown seed stock. 

Another option is to engage community in a friendly competition. Common Soil was donated 25 Nebraska record giant watermelon seeds and I was asked to expand them for distribution in the collection. My husband was getting his Masters at UNL and was in the Horticulture Society, so he proposed it as a Watermelon Growing Competition among all the graduate students, but also made sure everyone knew they were supporting the seed library by saving seeds. The university was super excited to support this effort and donated the space, which was isolated except for corn and beans. At the end of the season the watermelons were weighed, and the winner got an award. All of campus was invited to enjoy the melon and spit out the seeds into a bucket. We must have procured a few thousand seeds through this process and it was a very memorable community event.

Sending y'all big hugs, 
Betsy


Justine
 

Bonifacio! Where in Spain are you? Rebecca, thank you for bringing us all together (and continuing to be a force for seediness in the world). I love that you are exploring a Seed Library for dye plants. I have a friend in Colorado who is a fiber artist and a gardener, her garden efforts have turned primarily toward dye producing plants. She also turned me onto something called the fibershed movement, are you famliar? https://www.fibershed.com/
I started poking around the document you shared, thank you! And now I'm eager to get my paws on the book they cite, Community Seed Banks – Origins, Evolution and Prospects. It's downlaodable, which is lovely.

There's a book (or report) on seed libraries that I think many of us were interviewed for, I'll be curious to see where the author took her research. I know she was particularly interested in "what's next," and protocols. Rebecca or Betsy, do you recall the woman's name who's doing the research?

Thanks again for your thoughts, Bonifacio and Feliz Año Nuevo, to all!

~Justine


Justine
 

Hola Rebecca!

Yes, I'm convinced that including more community members in the process is key. I'm currently part of a community advisory group for our Community Food Bank's Farmers' Market. The market had the wisdom to create a space for community stakeholders to come together over the next 9 months (monthly, facilitated meetings) to envision how the farmers' market can be reflective of and responsive to the dynamic and culturally diverse community it serves. I can imagine the Seed Library engaging cross-sections of the community in this way (perhaps over a much shorter period of time...like a meeting or two) to get at what's important to them.

I may have to pick your brain more about grow-outs. We've never been successful at making that "ask" but I know you've had some success. And definitely working with school gardens! I think we need to revisit that. The challenges we've encountered is that there is very little stability with instructors--lots of turnover. But if we prioritized that, we could make better efforts to support that in the schools.

Thanks mucho for your thoughts!

Hugs, 

~J


Justine
 

Thanks so much, Betsy! I love the "gamification" approach to seed saving! Most everyone digs a little healthy competition. :) 

I definitely think we'll need to explore partnering with growers for grow-outs in the coming year.

Part of my question has to do with how do you go about selecting which seeds will be a part of your community's seed collection. Rebecca's initial comment hit the nail on the head in terms working with community members and partners to assist with the work of creating a local community-fed seed shed. 

How many seed varieties do you each have in your collections? Would you say your collections are more a reflection of just whatever seeds come your way via your various sources are you more strategic about what seeds are in your collections? I know Benifacio mentioned that they were working on a Seed Library of dye-plants specifically. Anyone else have "criteria" they're using (besides OP)? Thanks!

~Justine


SeedLibraries.net
 

First of, I am a big fan of Fibershed.com. The movement started in Marin County, which is where I work, by a woman named Rebecca Burgess. She has a lovely booked called Harvesting Color

Betsy, what a neat idea about gamefying the watermelon grow out / selection! Love that. I wish I could have been there for that one. :)

Justine, I'm not sure which book or report you are referring too. Here is a list of some of the books Richmond Grows is in - you are in most of those too. So maybe it is one of those. I have a separate list of researchers and their research papers. If it's not one of those, I can share that. There are about 20 people. Maybe you are thinking of Daniela Soleri?

!Feliz Año Nuevo a todos!
Rebecca


bbhijosa
 

Hi all and Happy New Year!

Wow, thanks for all that info and support :)

Rebecca, woad, weld and madder are very weedy here, it's easy to understand that there they are declared invasive, so you must be very careful about flowers, seeds and roots if you grow them.
 
I'm from Madrid, here I've been part of a community garden in the university, and there too, I collaborate with a small dye garden inside the botanical gardens of the UCM university, although they don't have any website for that corner, or a seed library (and could be a great activity there... just thinking aloud).

I've seen seedlibraries website and as I have more information I can send it for your site if your want to. As, for example, a list of the 4 or 5 spanish seed libraries, that now are not operating as we are on christmas until next week... It's quite nice you have a part devoted to dye plants, and that you advocate to include them in seed libraries with related activities, as plants are not used by humans to eat, but also to improve our health, to dress or making homes. And all other kind of activities made to activate a library used to be very interesting and fun.

I heard of fibershed, even a week ago or so, I was with a couple of dyers and talked about it. So I will 'study' their website --- so much work to do :).

bye for now,
bonifacio barrio hijosa


El mié., 1 ene. 2020 a las 6:18, SeedLibraries.net (<seedlibraries@...>) escribió:
First of, I am a big fan of Fibershed.com. The movement started in Marin County, which is where I work, by a woman named Rebecca Burgess. She has a lovely booked called Harvesting Color

Betsy, what a neat idea about gamefying the watermelon grow out / selection! Love that. I wish I could have been there for that one. :)

Justine, I'm not sure which book or report you are referring too. Here is a list of some of the books Richmond Grows is in - you are in most of those too. So maybe it is one of those. I have a separate list of researchers and their research papers. If it's not one of those, I can share that. There are about 20 people. Maybe you are thinking of Daniela Soleri?

!Feliz Año Nuevo a todos!
Rebecca


 

Hey Justine,
                      What about a ‘true-to-type only grow-out’ contest. The focus being on recorded data of the grow along with seed counts (by weight to simplify matters) being donated? The prize offering could be  a pre-determined seed cache to the participants. Those winners could be asked to distribute some of those to to their local residents/growers under the same pretenses. I think it could increase your chances of getting more quality seed and receive better seed counts returned to your organization. Just a thought... Positive Vibrations...Mike (gratefulseedsaver)

P.S. Hi BETSY!!! Congrats to you and Ben getting married and your gig with Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance! If you need any ‘grow-out’ or seed help don’t hesitate to contact me. WE MISS YOU!!!
              


Justine
 

Hi Mike!

Thanks so much for the fabulous idea! All of these ideas, really. They give us lots to think about.

Cheers, 

Justine