Ashleigh Smith + photo

Ashleigh Smith

Jan 9
3 min read
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Libraries - From Books to Seeds

You might have heard about seed banks, exchanges, or conventions. But have you heard of seed libraries? Seed libraries are stations set up for people to collect seeds for the coming growing seasons. Rather than hosting a one-time event for people to gather and swap seeds, consider starting a seed library. Food doesn’t have to be a scarce resource for your local communities. Empower individuals and families to take charge of their access to food from the ground up. Anyone can grow a garden, even if it is just by recycling household containers like newspaper and egg cartons.

Here in Salt Lake City, we have partnered with our local Public library to provide thousands of seeds for those wanting to experience the joy of growing. You don’t have to have a library card to pick up some seeds. Simply pick which seeds you want to try and fill out your check-out form. The Seed Library is refilled with more seeds to provide a broad selection throughout the year. Not only are the seed libraries available at the main city branch but also throughout the various neighborhoods.

Seed Library Cart

Get your seed library started by using pre-packed seed packets, or make your own by dividing bulk seed bags. You can use anything from drawers or shelves to repurposing old catalog carts. We also encourage locations hosting seed libraries to get involved in community gardening efforts. Many cities or schools provide community or student gardens. Find a way to get involved in your local garden efforts, or start one yourself. Regardless of the regular shortages of fruits and vegetables that occur from weather problems or transportation issues, you can secure food for your community.

Youth Gardening Group

Youth Gardening Group

Some of my favorite memories from my high school years include growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers in our school greenhouses and orchards. As students, we became familiar with common growing and maintenance practices like pest control, pruning, staking, and watering. Don’t forget to involve your local extension office for growing advice and resources tailored to your local climate. All you need to get started is soil, seeds, water, and light. Don’t let a lack of land or greenhouses get in the way of supplying your community members with the most basic human needs. Gardening is the perfect activity to get your youth outside and involved in community efforts.

Start a seed library in your community today!

Ideas for Seed Library Locations:

  • libraries
  • City Offices
  • Schools
  • Cafe's
  • Boys and Girls Club

Please share any other ideas you have in the comments section below.

seeds planted in soil
Ashleigh Smith's photo

I'm Ashleigh Smith, a native to Northern Utah. I first gained a love of gardening with my grandmother as I helped her each summer. I decided to make a career of it and have recently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University - Idaho. My studies have focused on plant production while I also have experience in Nursery & Garden Center Operations.


Jamie Sheckler

I’ve never heard of seed libraries before. This is a great idea. It reminded me of the clever way I store my seeds (in a binder).

Wendy Chapman

In Michigan there are several seed libraries across the state. I am starting one at our local library in Buchanan in March. Great read!

Jodi Lemaster

I have never heard of a seed library! What a great idea. I am going to see if any of my surrounding communities have one and if not look into forming one.


I love the seed library idea, this is something that would make a great senior project for a student to get going locally!


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