Community Blog

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September 18, 2020
Adrienne Hohensee

University Park Seed & Garden Library

Kitchen Commons supports community projects led by local leaders - to find out more about how KC can help with your food projects, see our project incubator on our website! Here is an example of a garden project created by neighbors who found enthusiasm in gardening and supporting one another.

The University Park Seed & Garden Library offers itself as a hub for neighbors to share surplus seeds. Along with locally harvested seeds, excess store-bought seeds, and starts, people regularly donate gardening literature, pots, tools, and garden decor.  

The library stands on the corner, beneath a slanted succulent bed, with honeysuckle growing up trellises. It is accessible to passers-by and available to the community year-round.

Taking inspiration from the affinity in the neighborhood for Free Little Libraries, sidewalk food pantries, the idea for the seed library came intuitively. Neighbors who share an affinity for gardening and a mutual desire to foster greater local access to it, decided to figure out how to make it into a reality for the neighborhood.

Once the concept sprouted, it felt like something that the community was waiting for without realizing it. The enthusiastic response and support from the neighborhood and local community, made it feel like the Library was manifesting itself.

It did take work - planning, networking, research, and then the physical labor - installation, building a frame and the succulent roof. Contingencies were researched - property lines, utility lines. What the library was made with, and how the seeds were stored.

Members of the local neighborhood Buy Nothing group donated the post, wood, seed containers, writing materials, soil and seeds. With the help and advice of the amazing staff at the Rebuilding Center, a semi-ideal structure was refurbished, which became the library. The seeds and other gardening items are kept in a converted and decorated icebox. *This project was researched relative to safety precautions, its location and in regard to seed viability. The icebox is secured to a post embedded in the ground. Utility line locations were located, prior to this. The hardware was removed from the icebox for safety reasons - the handle was replaced with a hook and eye latch, and there is ventilation. VonRocket Works donated paint, time and enthusiastic support.

The library would not exist without the enthusiastic help, donations of time, energy, materials, and could not function without the enthusiastic participation of the neighborhood. Neighbors routinely donate seeds (there are always a variety) and other materials. In the Spring, there were a variety of starts lined up. It is available, year-round, to anyone who has an interest in sowing a seed and helping it grow.

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