The tiny seed lending library planted at the Camarillo Public Library in 2012 is blossoming this spring. Thanks to a $13,000 Library Services and Technology Act Grant from the California State Library, gardeners will have hundreds more seed packets to “borrow,” meaning to take home and plant. No library card required.
Gardeners are asked to let a few of the resulting plants go to seed, then gather up the seeds and return them to the library for others to plant. It’s an informal process relying on the honor system to comply with California law, which states that people cannot be required to pay, put a value on the seeds or be required to replenish them.
The library is purchasing seed packets—from everyday garden-variety produce to exotic varieties—with a priority on heirloom, non- GMO and certified organic. On a visit, we spotted packets of Cosmic Purple carrot seeds, golden beets, herbs, lettuces, Snowball cauliflower and more, from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (non-GMO and safe-seed pledge participants), and Ojai’s All Good Things Organic Seeds, whose products are also non-GMO and include rare and heirloom offerings.
With the funding, Tanya Knipprath, library assistant and avid gardener, also is developing a free smartphone app with growing and seed-saving info (available online through Google Play and Apple). There are plans to exchange the single seed packet tray for a cabinet placed in a prominent spot in the lobby and to host seed swap events where gardeners exchange stories, ideas and seeds.
Staffed by volunteers, the year-round program “aims to provide the public with the best possible quality seeds to promote biodiversity, sustainable living and to kindle an interest in agriculture within the community,” says Knipprath.
Camarillo Public Library
4101 E. Las Posas Rd., Camarillo