Swapping seeds and stories

The first seed swap was organized by the new Martha’s Vineyard Community Seed Library.

From left, Claire Lafave of Island Growth School, Rebecca Sanders of FARM Institute and Emily Palena of Island Growth School — Photo courtesy of Ken Wentworth

Last Saturday, Jan. 31, a group of home gardeners, seed savers, and high school students came together at the West Tisbury library, carrying envelopes, Tupperware containers, and boxes filled with seeds. They were there to participate in the first seed swap organized by the new Martha’s Vineyard Community Seed Library, a collaborative project of Island Grown Schools, the FARM Institute, and the West Tisbury library.

“Seed swaps are wonderful community events, held across the world, to bring together farmers and gardeners to share seeds and the stories that go along with them,” says Noli Taylor, Island Grown Schools program leader. “Swaps are fun and community-building, and give us a chance to think ahead to spring on the cold days of winter.”

Students from the Island Grown Schools’ Farm Project, a year-round paid apprenticeship program for high school students, led a demonstration for participants in germination testing, or how to test the quality of seeds from past years to make sure they are still viable. They also helped test seeds from the growing seed collection in the new Seed Library cabinet, housed at the West Tisbury library.

“We plan on hosting seed swaps every winter for the Seed Library,” says Rebecca Sanders of the FARM Institute. “It’s another way we can engage the community in seed saving, while continuing to build a locally adapted collection of seeds for the library.”

For more information on the Seed Library and other upcoming seed-related events, please contact Noli Taylor at noli@islandgrown.org.