Little Falls St. Clare Seed Library Allows The Public To Borrow Seeds Like Books
Summer is just around the corner, and the planting season in Minnesota will soon be in full swing. The Franciscan Sisters in Little Falls are making it easier for people to have access to seeds and are demonstrating that libraries aren’t just for books with their growing seed library.
When Elise Carey moved to Little Falls and started working at the library at St. Francis Convent, she had an idea.
“I had heard of seed libraries. The idea behind it is to have seeds available to people free. When I came here and got a job at a library I thought, ‘what better place to start a seed library,’” said Carey, the St. Clare Library Coordinator.
The seed library allows people to check out seeds just like books.
“You borrow seeds. You plant them. They grow and then you take the seeds from that fruit and you return them to the library,” Carey explained.
The St. Clare Seed Library was started three years ago and has grown little by little from community seed donations. The seeds available in the library are all Minnesota friendly and range from vegetable and herbs to flowers.
“We have flowers, perennials and annuals, about 15 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes, a few different varieties of peppers,” Carey added.
The seed library offers an easy, accessible way for people who are new to the activity: to start a garden.
“Part of it is to just encourage people to have a go at gardening,” Carey said. “Whether it be in a flower pot or whether it be a big garden. Have a go.”
“Encouraging them to enjoy the growth and the life that comes from good care, and I think it will add to the enthusiasm when people do see the produce they have and are able to return seeds to the library,” said Sister Carol Schmit, St. Francis Convent Community Minister.
For the Franciscan Sisters, it also emphasizes the importance of preserving Earth’s resources and biodiversity.
“A lot of times you go into a supermarket and you would find one kind of cherry tomato or one kind of bigger tomato,” Carey said. “But there are thousands of varieties.”
For Carey, the seed library is about more than just producing food – it is about sharing the story that comes with each seed.
“It’s not just a seed and a plant but with heirloom varieties, it’s a part of history. It’s a part of the settling of Minnesota and the survival of the people that came here and then we have access to those seeds today,” added Carey.
Anyone is welcome to borrow from the seed library. The St. Clare library is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.