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Pierce County hopes to cultivate community gardens with new seed libraries

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The Pierce County Library System is calling all gardening enthusiasts and wannabes to get excited about their new sustainable seed libraries.

So, what exactly is a seed library? It’s similar to the standard library books system. The library is a place to store and collect a variety of diverse seeds.

The seeds are shared with the community, where the cycle continues with patrons planting, sowing, growing, and harvesting seeds to return to the library program.

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The goal is to promote sustainability — while also cultivating a passion for gardening in the community. Patrons don’t need to already know how to save seeds to use the seed library, but program operators encourage anyone interested to take the time to learn how, in order to keep as many seeds as possible available to all. The library system sometimes offers free classes on how to save seeds. The Pierce Conservation District website also has tips on the best way to harvest seeds.

Seven branches of the Pierce County Library System are participating in the seed program: Ander Island, Fife, Milton-Edgewood, Parkland-Spanaway, Steilacoom, Tillicum, and University Place. Find more information about when these branches are open here.

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Plus, this isn’t the only — nor the first — such sustainable “library” system in the Pierce County area.

The main branch of the Tacoma Public Library also houses a tool library for the DIY inclined and curious who don’t own all the tools they need for various projects. That program offers low-barrier access to over 2,500 types of tools.

Seattleites and residents of King County may be familiar with local seed and tool libraries, too.

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The King County Seed Lending Library is a “community of seed savers and sharers” in the Seattle area. The University of Washington has also compiled this list of seed libraries or exchanges in the area.

Plus, King County has four tool libraries outside of Seattle as well as six within the city. Information about each location is available on the King County website.

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