Calumet Library offers seed exchange

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — “If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,” Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote.

The Friends of the Calumet Public Library understand Burnett’s sentiment, and are showing it by announcing their Calumet Library Seed Exchange.

“It’s the beginning of garden season and the library’s seed library is a great place to start,” the group said in a press release. “Come in and check out the selection — take what you will use and get growing! If you have any seeds to share, you’re welcome to leave them behind, but it’s not a requirement.”

The Open Source Seed Initiative (https://osseeds.org/) recently stated: “Today, only a handful of companies account for most of the world’s commercial breeding and seed sales. Increasingly, patenting and restrictive contracts are used to enhance the power and control of these companies over the seeds and the farmers that feed the world.”

The Calumet Public Library Seed Exchange is a joint project of the Friends of the Calumet Public Library and the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, states the Western Upper Peninsula Food Systems Collaborative (https://www.wupfoodsystems.com/seed-libraries). It is located within the entrance of the Calumet Public Library and any visitor is welcome to make use of the resource. If you have any questions about the seed library, call 906-337-0311, ext 1107.

“Seed libraries across the Upper Peninsula have been taking off,” says the collaborative’s website, “and we now host three established seed libraries in the Western U.P.”

In fact, communities all across the U.S. are seeing an increase in popularity of seed libraries.

Joanne Kempinger Demski, in the March 17 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, said, “Great ideas usually start out small, sprout and then begin to grow. That’s what’s happening here as seed libraries and seed exchanges are increasing in popularity.”

These libraries, typically located inside regular libraries, wrote Demski, give seeds to patrons free of charge, and most of them accept seeds in return.

“Seed libraries are good for those who want to try new plants without buying seed packets that come in large quantities,” Demski quoted Kathy Blume, campus and interlibrary loan librarian at the Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Mequon campus, where there has been a seed library since 2018.

At her library, gardeners from southeastern Wisconsin can “borrow” up to five packets of vegetable, herb and/or flower seeds during each spring and fall ordering season.

“Not everyone has access to heirloom, good quality seed,” the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange said. “If you have extra seed you can always donate it to families or communities in need. By donating to a community garden, seed library or just someone in your neighborhood, you support food justice for all.”

For those who do not have much experience with gardening and hesitate because of limited space, Main Street Calumet recently announced plots available in its community garden. For more information on the Calumet Library Seed Exchange, call 906-337-0311 ext. 1107.


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