Joy Dinkelman is a student in the Sustainability Studies program here at Stony Brook University. This is her second contributed piece to the Sustainability Studies Blog.
The end of the semester is wrapping up, I thankfully just finished up with my last final, but that also unfortunately means that my independent study, EHM 487, on seed saving is done for the semester as well. Although, I won’t be reading books and articles, watching films, and interviewing people about seeds and agricultural issues all the time now, I will definitely continue learning more about the importance of and the political challenges facing seed saving.
I’m really glad that I had taken the chance and decided to look into the issues facing our seeds and agriculture, as well as taking the opportunity to meet with local seed savers and farmers. I had originally set out to start a seed library, a seed lending program in which people ‘borrow’ seeds at the beginning of the season and at the end of the season they return some of their saved seeds in order to create a self-sustaining source of local seeds. Starting a seed library was not as easy as I thought that it would have been, but I have not given up.
I had spoken with some of the SBU library staff and they were interested in the endeavor, but said that they did not have staff to run it. I’m hoping to get an official confirmation from the SBU Greenhouse and Gardening Guild this Fall, as seed saving and gardening go hand-in-hand. If anyone is interested in doing an independent study on helping to create and run the potential seed library on campus, please reach out to me, Joy Dinkelman, and Dr. Heidi Hutner so that we can give you more information and coordinate. I know about what is needed and how to start a seed library, but as I am graduating next Spring 2017, it would need to be run be a club or group of dedicated people.
As of 2014, there were over 340 seed libraries across the United States, helping to provide communities with a local source of seeds. I am happy to see that the seed library movement is finally germinating on Long Island; the first, official seed library on Long Island is currently being created at the Patchogue-Medford Library in collaboration with the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium (LIRSC). If you are interested in learning more about seeds and seed saving, the LIRSC, is an invaluable local resource; they have been one of the driving forces in the seed saving movement on Long Island. This organization of passionate seed savers and educators have also begun the first seed swap (seed exchange) at the Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead; this past February was their second annual seed swap event. I look forward to witnessing, as well as being a part of, the seed saving movement on Long Island.
If you are interested in further information about volunteering with the potential, SBU seed library, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Seeds are the direct and indirect source of our food, materials and habitats- they need to be cared for and grown by as many people as possible! Join the seed saving movement!