Library Seed Banks
The concept of a library seed bank is relatively new, but has grown rapidly over the past three years. It's estimated there are over 400 seed libraries in the U.S.A. and in 18 counties around the world
Libraries have had to adapt in the current digital age. They've become community centers, and because of this transition, they offer a stable meeting place for a seed collecting community to come together and grow.
Seed and plant lines are under stress from a number of areas, and a lot have become extinct. It's estimated that 70%-80% of the remaining seed lines are owned by the companies developing GMOs.
A study by Kathy Jo Wetter and Pat Mooney of the ETC Group documented that the same six seed companies that control 76% of the seed market also control 60% of the agrochemical market.
There are independent seed companies, gardeners, and seed saving organizations doing their best to keep the existing plant lines not owned by these companies available to the public with unaltered genes.
I believe that nature intended seeds to be free and openly available. Think about the seeds of a dandelion blowing in the wind, or from a milkweed plant. Does that seed belong to anyone?
A program like the Library Seed Bank honors this intention, and in a simple way, demonstrate that a choice is available to keep seeds genetically pure, and free to the public.
Think about the distribution system that public libraries offer. Seeds, like knowledge, are free and openly available to all who can get to a library. It's simple, it levels the field with ownership rights, and helps preserve genetically pure plant lines by providing knowledge about the state of seeds today.
The nest step for Library Seed Bank is to become a Benefit Corporation, or B Corp. with seed and food sovereignty as the publicly stated goal. A Mobile Seed Library was launched in October 2015 to reach more people with seeds and advocacy.
Jeff Quattrone is the Founder of Library Seed Bank. He started a blog a few years ago called Vanishing Feast, An Heirloom Solution. In the course of exploring the world of heirloom gardening by growing, reading, writing and traveling to food movement events, Jeff concluded that he had put his skill, creativity and experience with corporate and freelance marketing to something sustainable such as seed and food sovereignty.
Jeff is a Community Seed Organizer with the Community Seed Resource Program through Seed Savers Exchange and Seed Matters, is a co-chair for the Northeast Regional Committee for Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste, and works with the Rodale Institute's Organic Allentown Program.
Jeff's an art director for print design. His educational background is the fine arts, with a concentration in photography. Jeff's worked in a number of visual mediums including millinery. As an art director and print designer, he's worked with numerous marketing plans implemented across multiple audiences. Jeff's won two graphic design awards for a children's cookbook he designed, was credentialed as press at Slow Food International's Salone del Gusto Terra Madre 2012, co-produced an independent award wining film, self published a book of his photos and stories, has a publishing credit as a milliner, and has two Perry Award nominations from the New Jersey Association of Community Theaters for Best Properties. In 2010, the two shows that won Perry Awards for Best Play, and Best Musical, Jeff's work as Properties Master contributed to both winning scores.