Mansfield Public Library’s Seed Library and Exchange
Open for the season
Once again we want to help you grow
Our mission is to help nurture a thriving community of gardeners and seed savers and to introduce the joy of gardening to members of our community who are not already gardeners. The Seed Library is a free program committed to increasing our ability to feed ourselves wholesome food. We offer seeds and education.
It’s easy to take seeds for granted. Tiny, dry pods hidden in packets and sacks, they make a brief appearance as gardeners and farmers collect them for future planting then later drop them into soil. They are not “what’s for dinner,” yet without them there would be no dinner. Seeds are the forgotten heroes of food, and of life itself, and they are under assault.
We are on the verge of losing in one generation much of the agricultural diversity humankind took 10,000 years to create. As late as 1900, food for the planet’s hungry was provided by as many as 1500 different plants, each further represented by thousands of different cultivated varieties. Where once diverse strains strengthened each local ecosystem, currently, a handful of super-hybrid varieties are “mono-cropping” farms and gardens worldwide.
Over the last 30 years, advances in molecular biology have allowed the development of genetically modified seeds. These “transgenic” seeds are infertile, incapable of producing seeds for another generation of plants. Seed libraries, a type of agricultural commons, share with gardeners and farmers heirloom plant varieties that will grow the exact same plant next year if the seeds from this year’s crop are saved.
For thousands of years, harvesting seed was a vital, often sacred ritual. People immigrating to the United States very often sewed their saved seeds into the hems of their clothing, safeguarding their precious heirlooms from possible confiscation at customs. The seed supply, a life source and essential part of nature’s bounty, once commonly held, will be put back in the hands of the people of the community.
So…stop in and have a look, “borrow” some seeds, grab a brochure and helpful handouts and start your garden today! We gratefully accept seed donations as well.