Library Turns to Seeds
The borrowing scheme allows members of the Basalt Regional Library in western Colorado to check out and take home a packet of heirloom seeds to plant. They then have six months to grow the crop, harvest and return some seeds from the strongest plants.
"The seed of each new generation wlil be better adapted to the climate in the Roaring Fork Valley, increasing resistance to disturbance in our gardens and farms," according to the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, who, along with the Roaring Fork Food Policy Council, have assisted the library in the coordination and running of the program.
According to the library's director, Barbara Milner, the scheme is one way of keeping local libraries relevant in the age of the cloud.
"You have to be fleet of foot if you're going to stay relevant, and that's what the big problem is with a lot of libraries, is relevancy," she said.
The Basalt Library scheme is the most recent initiative of its type and joins over 12 other similar programs aiming to promote the use of heirloom seeds against the backdrop of the increasing prevalence of Genetically Modified (GMO) varieties.
The use of GMO seeds has recently gained attention with the case of Bowman vs. Monsanto in which the seed manufacturing giant sued 75 year-old Indianan farmer Vernon Bowman for patent infringement after it was alleged Mr Bowman planted without authority seeds containing Monsanto patented material.
GMO seeds require the farmer to purchase new seeds every season, while heirloom varieties can have their seeds harvested and planted.
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