Seed Libraries Newsletter                 
Cool Beans!
Seed Library Hubs Edition
August 2018- Issue #15
In this Issue
Open Source Resources                                                                                                   

All of the articles and resources in this newsletter and on are open source., except where noted. They may be freely used. We encourage you to use these articles and resources and share them in your community. You may repost articles in your own community newsletters or emails. Attributions to are appreciated, but not required. If there is a specific author mentioned, please include the name as a courtesy.  If you have articles that you have written that you feel would be of benefit to the seed library community, email them to
Master Class:
Saving Tomato Seeds
by Hillie Salo
Master Gardener & Founder, Silicon Valley Grows, Silicon Valley, CA, USA 

Tomatoes are one of four very easy seeds to save; tomatoes, peas, beans, and lettuce are extremely self-pollinating and will come "true-to-type", meaning the plants generated from those seeds will look like the parents. They are annual plants that live their whole life cycle in one season.

Tomato flowers are called "perfect" flowers. Perfect flowers have both the stamen  (male parts) and the stigma (female parts) on the same blossom. Pollen from the stamen falls onto its own stigma and pollination occurs and eventually fertilization and the creation of fruit
The flower on the left has a protruding stigma (also called exserted) which sticks out past the flower cone because of the length of the flower style. The flower on the right has an inserted stigma, which is enclosed by the flower cone.
As a result of breeding for modern varieties, the style became shorter, so that reproduction takes place entirely inside the closed flower, making it nearly impossible for outside (cross) pollination.
One tip that may help your tomato plant set more fruit is by showing it some tactile love.  You just take the flowering branches and give them a gentle shake. The pollen will drop from the stamen of the flower onto the pistil.

While tomato blossoms are structured basically the same way - they have a perfect flower that allows for self-pollination - older varieties tend to have an extra  long "style" which is part of the female reproductive system of the plant. The end of the style, called the stigma, is where the pollen grains stick, leading to pollination. When the style is very long, it may make it possible for insects to pollinate the flower before its own pollen can drop onto the stigma.

To ensure purity, just grow one variety in a season or separate different varieties by 10-50 feet. Planting flowers that pollinators prefer, such as coriander, dill, oregano, sage, thyme and borage, in between tomato varieties can be an additional strategy. Blossom bags can protect individual blossoms from tenacious insects.

Remember when saving any type of seed, follow the Seed Saving Best Practices, which include only save seeds from heirlooms and open-pollinated plants. Don't save hybrids. They won't come out true-to-type.  

Tomato seeds are mature when the fruit is ready to eat. Harvest tomatoes for seed from healthy plants; selecting for flavors, colors, disease resistance and/or other traits you prefer. Other traits might include yield (heavy producers) and resistance to pests. Though a single tomato plant can produce viable seed; to maintain a variety over time, save seeds from between 5-10 plants.

Saving seeds from tomatoes is easy, squeeze out the pulp and seeds from the inside of the fruit into a container. Cutting around the equator of the fruit is one way to free the seeds, though there is no set method. Do not add additional water, unless there is so little liquid retrieved by squeezing the fruit. Additional water may slow down the fermentation of the seeds.

Leave the container to sit for at least one day in a warm spot out of direct sunlight so that the pulp can ferment. According to one study the fermentation duration from 24 to 48 h at temperatures of 25C (77F), is recommended.

This process allows the tomato seeds to separate from the gelatinous coating that covers them. Removing the gelatinous coating enables easier germination. T he gel residue can, also, be a problem for stored seeds because it can provide a safe haven for seed- and soil-borne disea s es. Viable seed will sink to the bottom of this mixture, and dead seeds will float. When a small amount of mold begins to form on the mixture, pour off the floating solids and dead seeds and thoroughly rinse the sunken seeds in running water. (A fine mesh strainer is ideal for this step of the process.) Once thoroughly cleaned, seeds can be placed on a screen, porcelain plate, or a coffee filter and left to dry for 5-7 days. Make sure to notate the variety name on the filter, plate, or screen.
Store in moisture proof containers, such as canning jars. When stored in a cool, dry place, tomato seeds will remain viable for 5-10 years.
At a minimum, make sure to label the seed container with the common name, variety, and year when harvested., ex. Sasha's Altai Tomato, 2018. Additional information that may be helpful to include is the scientific name, how many plants saved from, and any useful notes about your seed source. Here is an envelope label form that helps you communicate important information when sharing your seeds with others.  
Submit Featured Resources for Next Issue!
Seed Swaps - January 2019 Issue
We'd love to share photos of your seed swaps, promotional flyers for seed swaps, and any organizational information/tips you have when running a seed swap. 

Please include the name of your seed library, town/city, province/state, and county. 

Email us seed swap information by October 15th.  
Featured Resource:
Seed Packets
Whether you get your original seeds from a commercial grower or a neighbor, LABEL! LABEL! LABEL! is the mantra. It is important to include the common name, variety, and year grown as an absolute minimum on the packets. However, there is much more that we can add to packets from stories about where the seeds came from to growing instructions and uses (ex. shelling, snap, or snow pea). Packet can have a personal touch with the addition of graphics. Here are a few envelopes from seed libraries.  If you include information that isn't on any of these examples, please email us and we'll add it to our Notes from the Field section in our January issue so that everyone can benefit from your ideas and inspiration. 
The information in Featured Resources can be found at
Pima County Public Library's Seed Library
Pima County, AZ, USA
Grainothèque de la bibliothèque Ahuntsic (Ahuntsic Public Seed Library)
Montréal,  Québec, Canada
Appleton Seed Library
Appleton, WI, USA
We g et them custom printed from Cambridge PacificI order with Sherri Barrett,
They come gummed to self seal, lickable, or with no seal....depends on what you want.
It's lots of work handwriting the information. We wanted to have a personal touch, but it's not always fun trying to get 1000+ seed packs written each season.

Greenfield Community College Seed Library
Greenfield, MA, USA
Community Seed Exchange
Sebastopol, CA, USA
The Community Seed Exchange collection is 100% locally grown and stored in jars. The jars have printed  shipping label stickers on them. When people borrow seeds, they fill in their own label and stick it on an envelope.
Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library
Richmond, CA, USA
We use a rubber stamp and hand stamp No. 1 and No. 6 coin envelopes. We have both in the seed library. The smaller ones are great for smaller seeds and seed swaps.

Things we've done to make labeling better:
- created an  envelope template that folks can type their information on. This is available on our website and we share it out in our community newsletter.
- put several copies of the labels in jars so folks have all the information they need. They just grab a label from the jar and stick it on or in the envelope.
- make labels for many varieties in our collection available online for folks  to print out at home from our grow out sheet . This way people can print out a well made label with all the important information.
- bought two self-inking stamps: "Rare! Please save seeds." and "Crossed?" The first stamp highlights rare varieties and encourages folks to save them. The second stamp, "Crossed?", is because it's hard for us to save seeds from brassicas (ex. mustard, broccoli) and sunflowers. We mark all of those donated varieties from home gardeners as "Crossed?" to communicate to community members that they may not come out true-to-type. (See envelopes below.)
- label how many years we've grown the seed. For example, the first year we plant something, we'd mark the plant label as 16-0, which means we planted it in 2016 and the zero means that the seed came from an outside source. A label with 18-II, means that it was saved in 2018 and it is the second time we've saved seeds. (See envelopes below in the "Year" section.)
- include the "Super Easy" icon on peas, beans, lettuce, and tomato envelopes. (See image below on left packet.)
- include the "Hand Pollinate" icon on squash, melons, an cucumber envelopes.
- included appropriate quantities to take on the package: "Take a pinch. 1 Seed = 1 Plant." for small seeds and "Take 2-3 seeds for each plant you intend to grow." for larger seeds. (See envelope on the right-hand side.)
Rebecca Newburn, Editor of
Cool Beans!, at the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library with a new seed saver.
Cool Beans! Seed Library Newsletter and the website have been funded by the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library for several years. We would really appreciate and need the larger seed library community to help pay for these resources.

 A $45 donation will pay for a month of the e-newsletter subscription that allows us to send you Cool Beans! All sized donations make a difference! Contributions are tax-deductible (through our fiscal agent, Urban Tilth). Remember the content in the newsletters can be shared in your own community! Donate today!

May peas be with you,
Rebecca Newburn
Co-Founder, Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library
Editor,  Cool Beans! Seed Libraries Newsletter

National Seed Librarians Summit 
Wed. Sept. 12, 2018
We hope you can join us for the 8th Annual Seed Libraries Summit at the  National Heirloom Expo  in Santa Rosa, California, USA on Wednesday, Sept. 12th. The meeting is from 4-6 PM.  There will be an introduction to seed saving class from 3-4PM. 

Special Guests: Justine Hernandez and Susannah Connor from Pima County Public Library's Seed Library

Come early to enjoy the Expo. The summit is free with the cost of admittance to the  Expo , which is $15. We meet behind the administration building. 

We'll also be meeting for dinner on the Fairgrounds after the meeting. 
Featured Seed Library
Ross Memorial Library
Location:  St. And rews, New Brunswick, Canada
Established: 2017 
Number of branches: 1
Organizers: Individual citizens, Master gardeners, Seed savers group, Local Garden Club Members

Very small rural town situated on a saltwater bay, with many summer residents and cottagers.

Reason for opening a library: 
The purpose of this seed library is to encourage people to grow their own food, learn how to save seeds, and be a part of an enjoyable community project. When you grow and save your own seeds, you: contribute to food security and climate stability; help conserve genetic diversity; are part of a community developing seed stock that's well suited to our climate. When you participate in the seed library, you create a culture of sharing and abundance. We also work with the local garden club to share resources and ideas. 

Words of Wisdom to other seedbrarians: 
Establish a good base of volunteers who have a good working knowledge of gardening.

This is our second year of having a Seed Library so I have to say our success initially, was being able to get it up and running in a space of just a two months. The second year, we did get some seed donations and asked local seed houses for more varieties and more flower and herb seeds.
Volunteer at Ross Memorial Library's seed library in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada.

Greatest challen
  Getting the seeds for the start up of the library, so that we had a credible and varied inventory. Also, how to house the seeds for easy access for o ur patrons. We settled on an old card files that libraries used to have. The challen ge going forward will be to get enough seed donations to make the library self-sustaining.

Featured Seed Saver
Hillie Salol
Hillie Salol with Yellow Indian Woman Beans
What is your interest in seed saving today?
I started Silicon Valley Grows! One Seed, One Community. It is a project to support the seed community and seed libraries. We invite the community to save a chosen heirloom seed together, with the intent to build genetic diversity and adaptability in that variety. This has led to "Grow a Row for your Seed Library", a group of gardeners who have dedicated a row for donation to seed libraries.
How many years have you been saving seeds?
I have developed a keen interest in the last five years; though the lazy gardener in me discovered them in the garden when crops were not removed in a timely fashion.
What inspired you to start saving seeds?
A  Seed Library had been donated to our local library. I did a little research and realized this was huge. Bill McDorman asks, "What are you doing today that will have impact in a 1000 years?"
I believe seed saving can save the future and I believe this is something you and I can do.  Large seed companies have abandoned the work of preserving diversity. That leaves the task to us. Vandana Shiva tells us that seed saving is not just the job of farmers, but everyone who is concerned about the future of food, whether you have a garden or simply a balcony or windowsill.
When there was a rice collapse in Asia in the 1970s, it took four years and 17 thousand samples before a variety was discovered with desired traits to revive this crop. The final sample was found in a "hedgerow", an area of wild shrubs and trees bordering a field. I truly believe that it could be any one of us who saves seeds that may have a variety that has traits to save our food system in a future crop collapse.
What seeds do you save? Do you feel like you have a seed saving specialty in a particular crop(s)?
I am starting to focus on legumes. These days most seed savers are novices. To help them be successful in seed saving, I find it best to focus on self-pollinating plants. These include peas, beans, lettuce, and tomatoes. Saving seeds from self-pollinating varieties reduces the concerns seed savers have about cross-pollination and the seeds will bring "true-to-type" plants, i.e. those that look like the parent plant.
What do you love most about seed saving? The miracle.

Do you have a seed saving philosophy?
When we share our seeds, we are not passive recipients of seeds from seed companies. We are not 'consumers' requiring consumer protection. We are active, engaged participants in the cycle of seeds. We are intertwined with the very process of nurturance and evolution that has been at the core of seed breeding since humans invented agriculture.
Favorite seed story?
Recently, I discovered a longtime friend's brother was in possession of some beans their mother had grown here in the now Silicon Valley. It was a different time in the (San Francisco, California) Bay Area when there still was a Valley of Hearts Delight. Ivy's family had a small farm that grew flowers in East Palo Alto. We had met in elementary school and became fast friends. Her family was very welcoming when my brother and I visited. We were enamored with their farm and our neighborhood. 
Ivy's brother, Dicky, gave me some of those beans this year and I grew them. They are great! I hope to grow more seeds to share next year. I love the living connection these beans create to this place, that time and these wonderful people. It was a fine time and place to grow up.
Dicky's story shares a bit of a that time here in the SF South Bay Area...
"The beans are called Oregon Giants. Mom bought the seeds originally from that little store on Cooley Avenue in East Palo Alto back in the late 60's/early 70's, so the seeds have been in our family for almost 50 years!
The beans were first planted on the farm in Milpitas on Dempsey Road. They were planted every year because they produced a lot of beans for your effort.
When we moved the farm to San Jose on Trimble Road (now Fortune Drive) in 1971, the seeds went amiss. They were either misplaced or eaten by critters when stored in one of the small houses/sheds. We tried to buy more, but couldn't find any available (easy to find now with the internet!). We planted other types of beans, but they just weren't the same.
Anyhow......several years later when I was cleaning the "Kitchen" (one of the small house which we used for cooking and eating in the past), I found several seeds on the top shelf of the closet and underneath the built in seat near the front door (lol, we used it as the back door).The beans were again planted every year until Mom moved to the house on Domaine in 1996.
I kept some seeds, but didn't have any space to plant them at my house in Milpitas. I think I started planting them again about four years ago here in Fremont. Pretty amazing that I got 100% germination from seeds that were close to 18 years old!"
Which question(s) are you most asked by other seed savers?
Many seed savers have expressed concern about seed quality at seed libraries and other types of seed exchanges.  Yes, that can be a concern, as seed savers we are beginning a new learning curve and as a community we have much to learn. One thing is to share as much information as we can about our seeds when we are labeling them.  That's where community and commercial seeds differ. Your community seed may be a crossed hybrid that is divine. Commercial seeds will give you the certifications you want when you need it.
What was the most important piece of advice you received when you were getting started?  Or, what single piece of advice would you give a new seed saver?
Start with the self-pollinators: peas, beans, lettuce & tomatoes. They are easy to grow and easy to save.
Be adventurous, the garden is one big science experiment and usually edible.
Anything else you would like to share?
Local Food starts with Local Seeds!
Creating a Seed Library Hub
Seed libraries are popping up all over and it's time to level up! Some communities are self-organizing into hubs, effective networks working together for a common purpose. 

If there are a few seed libraries in your area, you may want to consider reaching out to them.  The size of the area depends on your needs and the density of seed libraries. In the San Francisco Bay Area, we have two hubs: Silicon Valley Grows, which has 6 seed libraries, and the East Bay Local Seeds, which has 11 seed libraries. Other places may choose to have a larger geographic region, for example the Michigan Seed Library. (Read article below.)

Benefits of collaborating:
- share resources, ex. seed screens & surplus seeds
- collaborate to create or improve resources,  ex. brochures, envelopes, & signage
- discuss solutions to challenges 
- create a list of seed teachers 
- cross-promote classes to increase the number of seed savers in your area
- share rare seeds or seed that are important to your community; help back up each other's unusual varieties in the event of a disaster or losing it for some other reason

This collaborative work is in the development stages for a number of 
co mmunities. O ne of the easier ways to get things jump started is to launch the One Seed, One Community Project, developed by Silicon Valley Grow's Hillie Salol . This is where you have the community grow out one variety and you support them from planting, growing, to  harvesting seeds, including how to return them to the library.  This program is outlined on
Resiliency Rising!
Bill McDorman & Stephen Thomas
As another spate of unprecedented wildfires blaze around the world, some stark questions confront us. What kind of a future do we face? How do we plan intelligently? Can we prepare our institutions to deal with "unthinkable" scenarios, even as they become realities? Since the Age of Reason, technological progress has always seemed to provide solutions to our compounding problems. Perhaps we can rest a little easier trusting that humanity's ingenuity will save us again, this time from environmental catastrophe. And even in this best-case scenario, seed libraries will be necessary and immensely valuable. They are becoming a proven way to build community and bridge cultural, economic ,and political divides. Underserved communities especially have the most to gain through seed saving - a major benefit in these vulnerable economic times.
But what if the "black swan" events of climate chaos continue to arise, as we are seeing unfold today? What if those governments around the world shortening their supply lines for food and essential goods have it right? What if industrial agriculture falls victim to extreme heat, drought, fire, and super-storms? What if the oceans do rise as fast as predicted and millions of displaced climate refugees need to be fed?
Think about the difference it would make in these increasingly believable scenarios if each and every community had a seed library: a calm haven of hope and potential at the center of a roiling storm. Set aside the criticism sometimes leveled at seed libraries that "all the seeds aren't germ tested and might not breed true." How much worse off would a town or city be without a seed library in these worst-case scenarios? Cut off from an industrial food supply for months or longer, as our friends in Siberia were during the collapse of the Soviet Union, those communities with their own commonly held, locally adapted seeds will certainly have an advantage. They will literally hold the seeds of a new local agriculture in their hands. Uniformity and seed line purity for scaling up food systems can be recreated only if the startup seeds are available. And in the meantime, we'll have something to eat.
Eight years ago, my wife Belle Starr and I hosted the first Seed School workshop at our home in Cornville, Arizona. Rebecca Newburn of Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library was in attendance, already a rising seed library star. These ecological concerns didn't seem as dire at the time, but they were on our minds and on the horizon even then. Similarly, the seed library movement was just beginning to germinate. It seems unlikely to be an accident that the exponential spread of seed libraries mirrors this increasingly volatile planetary moment. We like to think of it as resiliency rising to meet the storm.
As the s eed library movement continues to grow, perhaps an important next step is to see them successfully networked to other seed libraries close by. Not only would this be optimal for the almost-immediate sharing of successful varieties, it would spread cautionary news of the most spectacular failures. As a wise seed elder once remarked: "Saving seeds is powerful, but sharing them is profound." Seed library networks have begun springing up all over the continent as a way to regionally share seeds and successes. The San Francisco Bay Area, Tucson, Arizona, and Toronto are some prime examples. Nothing like having a close neighbor to call when you face a challenge similar to one they have just been through.
Regional seed conservation organizations have a role to play here as well, especially in taking on tasks too expensive or time-consuming for seed libraries themselves to tackle. At the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (RMSA), where I serve as Executive Director, one of our goals is to expand the number of seed libraries and seed library users. We continue to teach and build on our Seed School courses. This program has evolved into a diverse series of educational offerings, including one-day, six-day, fully online, and specialized courses such as Grain School. We also offer a Seed School Teacher Training to spread seed knowledge exponentially. Recently we added a Seed School in a Day for Ranchers in collaboration with the Quivira Regenerate Conference.
These hands-on, immersive courses serve as incubators and training grounds for the seed savers and seed librarians of the future. With an eye to the future, they also emphasize the need for redundant, regional backups of all seed collections (including seed libraries!) to prevent against catastrophic loss from floods, fires, and political unrest. Climate change threatens to make all of these extreme events increasingly possible. RMSA is working on establishing a regional seed vault for the Mountain West and is happy to share the architectural rendering: a seed bank made from septic tanks!

RMSA Seed Vault
If you can find a local seed library association in your area, join it. If you are lucky enough to have a regional seed conservation organization like RMSA serving you, find it and support it. For those living in and around the Rocky Mountains, we have developed searchable online directories to link and connect you with other seed libraries, seed stewards and seed teachers near you. Now is the time to build regional seed hubs. If you are interested in starting your own regional seed organization, big or small, we are happy to help you take the next steps.
Not that long ago, before World War II, the United States had an interconnected, community-supported system of seed production and seed saving, state-by-state, region by region. Our vision to return to this system isn't far-fetched, it's part of our country's DNA. An ideal scenario includes independent, bioregional seed networks like RMSA linking together local seed libraries, seed savers, and small seed companies for resource sharing and seed solidarity.
In light of the challenges we face, if we are to have a truly sustainable agriculture (and I would argue, a functional civilization), seed libraries will be an essential element. The more seed savers we create, the more diversity we will have. This is a biological truth. The more diversity we have, the better our chances of surviving changing conditions, be they flood, drought, or disease. No top-down institution can do this for us. As the saying goes, we are the ones we've been waiting for - all of us seed lovers banding together in our backyards, our neighborhoods, and our regional communities. The seeds are showing us the way. May their roots spread strong, wide and deep, connecting us all.
Building a Sustainable Community, 
My Work with the Michigan Seed Library
By Ben Cohen
Founder, MI Seed Library

The first modern seed library appeared on the landscape in Berkeley, California in the year 2000. This community seed sharing initiative was dubbed BASIL; Bay Area Seed Interchange Library. The fledgling program was formed by a young man by the name of Sascha Dubrul who was hoping to find a home for the many seeds collected by the recently closed campus farm at University of California Berkeley. Sascha joined forces with one of the managers of the now defunct farm, Christopher Shein, and Terri Compost to help make his seed sharing dream a reality. While this effort has been credited as the first seed library in the nation, it wasn't long until other programs begin popping up all over the country!

In 2004, Ken Greene, a librarian at the Gardiner Public Library in Gardiner, New York decided to add seeds to his catalog in an effort to preserve and share heirloom varieties with his community. The concept was simple; patrons could "check out" the seeds from their library, grow them at home and then return seed back to the facility after their harvest. Ken's project was known as Valley Educational Seed Saving Exchange and Library (VESSEL). While the basis of the program was so simple, its impact was profound. Ken Greene has gone on to found the Hudson Valley Seed Company. In 2010, a few more seed libraries emerged in California, including Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library. They created THE blueprint for how a seed library can function. Their model has been duplicated into what is now more than 500 community seed library programs throughout the United States.
If it wasn't for the passion and efforts of these early seed library pioneers, the local seed movement, and the local food movement it facilitates, may not have spread quite so quickly through our community gardens, urban farm plots and farmers markets. Seed libraries help to put control of our food supply back into the hands of the people. Without local seed, there is no local food. When people are empowered by the act of planting these sacred seeds into the soil, cultivating the Earth and reaping her bountiful harvest, their true selves are awakened once again. The seed library is at the heart of the movement to regain control of our food, our history and our culture. Saving and sharing our seeds is the most revolutionary action of all.

My home state of Michigan is currently host to 52 seed libraries statewide. When you consider that there are just over 500 programs nationally, this is a significant statistic! I have personally worked with a majority of these libraries, either through their founding or via educational workshops and lectures which are typically seed saving related. I always love how unique each community's program is, always tailored to their patron's needs, always as diverse as the seeds that they save and share.

One of the greatest challenges we've faced over the years is the return rate of seeds at the end of a season. Some libraries are able to have seeds returned at a rate of anywhere from 4-10% of what was dispersed in the spring, but these numbers are significantly lower for other libraries. Last year, one of our programs shared seeds with 2500 patrons, yet only 5 of those gardeners returned seed in the fall. While it's encouraging to know that 2500 people grew gardens at home and enjoyed the fresh produce for their labors, less than a 1% return rate is not a sustainable situation!

While there are a number of seed companies and other organizations willing to donate to these programs every year, bringing in seed from outside sources is counterproductive to many of the benefits of a functioning seed library. First and foremost is the adaptation of the varieties to each local environment. When we rely on seeds from outside of our growing regions we miss out on the vigorous and productive gardens that we can enjoy if our seeds have adapted to our specific pest and climate pressures, as well as our individual gardening techniques.

When we are unable to establish a good seed return rate for our libraries, this also means that our communities are not learning, or at least not applying, the skills necessary to properly harvest and save their seeds. It's important that our communities are fully engaged in the process, from seed to seed. One of the ultimate goals of a community seed sharing initiative is to foster a culture of independence amongst its participants, and without the knowledge and skills needed to grow and harvest one's own seeds, one will always remain dependent upon the system for the most basic element in our food supply; the seed.

These are the thoughts that inspired me to form the MI Seed Library program. The initial function of the program has been to serve as an educational networking system for the many seed libraries in the state, through a social media organizational group as well as on site workshops for individual communities. This has allowed us to share knowledge, experiences, resources and seeds easily throughout the network. This has also given us the opportunity to create a branding and marketing campaign on a state wide level to increase exposure and participation for the various programs.

As we work to resolve the challenge of low seed return rates, I have adopted a number of growers to help us increase our supply of locally adapted seed for our libraries. MI Seed Library provides the participants with the initial seed stock as well as the specific directions for growing, seed saving, and ensuring varietal purity for each cultivar. Our hope is to provide our state's seed libraries with this locally grown seed to help alleviate their dependency on outside sources until we are able to overcome the difficulties we experience with returned seed every fall. Eventually we hope to expand on this model and encourage similar services in our surrounding states and their emerging local seed economies.

Regardless of the role that each of plays in this local food movement; grower, seed saver, educator or chef, we are all vital components of a sweeping change in our society and the way that we look at our food. We are as diverse and unique as the seeds that we steward, each of us a bundle of potential waiting to spring forth and nourish the world. It is essential that we continue to support each other's efforts, to learn from the challenges we encounter and to persevere in the face of adversity. Together we are always stronger and the seed that we save is truly the glue that bonds us.
Ben Cohen is a writer, poet, herbalist, gardener, seed saver, author, and wanderer.  His first book, "From Our Seeds & Their Keepers" is now available on Amazon and at
Next Issue:
Seed Swaps - January 2018
FeedbackFeedback for this issue? Ideas for the next issue?
This Issue: Seed Library Hubs
Does your seed library belong to a larger seed collective? Is it local or regional?  Let us know. We'd like to know what groups exist. How they got started? What services they provide?

Next Issue: Seed Swaps
Does your seed library host seed swaps? Send up your photos or promo flyers. How do you get it organized? What tips do would you recommend to others? What do you do about potential poor quality seed, such as folks bringing corn or squash (that they didn't hand pollinate)?

Fill in this survey. Tips on what you do will be included in News from the Field to benefit others.
Seed Saving Courses
Seed Savers Exchange's 6th Annual Seed School
Aug 17-19, 2018
Decorah, IA, USA
Seed Savers Exchange
Seed School Online
Self-paced, online course
Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and Urban Farm
Mountain Seed School and Camp Out
 September 2-8, 2018
Westcliffe, Colorado
Penn and Cords Garden

Fall Seed Academy
October 3-7, 2018
Williams, OR, USA 
Seed School Teacher Training for Agricultural Professionals
October 21-26, 2018 
Denver, CO, USA 
Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance 
Offering a day long seed saving class?
Let us know and we'll include it in 
Cool Beans! and our Facebook page.
Seedy Events
National Seed Summit
Sept. 12  , 2018
Santa Rosa, CA, USA

Mountain West Seed Summit: Reunion of the Radicles
Feb. 22 - 23, 2019
Santa Fe, NM, USA
Learn More & Register
Come Feb. 21 for the Seed Summit Field Trip!

Offering a day long  seed celebration or meeting?
We're happy to share it. Email us.

Banner Photo
Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto

Photo by Kay Everts
Seed Librarian
Seed Garden Manager
Seeds for Sharing Library and Garden
Oak Grove, OR, USA

Do you have a banner bean photo you'd like included? Email us.  Let us know the variety, your name, location, and if you are associated with a seed project.