Before dessert, before dinner, before cooking, before the harvest, there is the seed. The local nonprofit the Ecological Culture Initiative (ECI) will unveil its new seed library, The Good Ground Seed Library, in the Hampton Bays Public Library on Wednesday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. (“Good Ground” changed its name to “Hampton Bays” in 1922.) This seed library will be housed in a vintage card catalog, located in the adult reference section. Envelopes containing a small amount of organic seed for a wide variety of vegetable plants will also provide plant variety names, as well as information on germination, growing and harvesting.
ECI’s Agro-Ecology Director Rachel Stephens spearheaded the Seed Library. Stephens is the owner of Sweet Woodland Farm in Hampton Bays. She notes, “I’ve had a passion for homesteading for years and enjoy teaching all-but-lost skills to adults and children. My joining up with ECI has enabled me to expand these offerings to a larger community. The Good Ground Seed Library will provide free organic vegetable, herb and flower seeds to anyone who would like to procure them. My hope is to encourage community members to grow their own food [which is] one of the most important skills we all should have at a time when we are being further and further removed from what real, healthy food is. I had heard of seed libraries already in existence across the country and, although still a fairly new idea, I came to find there are three already on Long Island, though none on the South Fork. Now, folks in this area can get free seeds to cultivate a garden of their own.”
Will you be the first in line to get your free seeds? Will you donate seeds back at the end of the growing season? This is the whole idea—the best seeds available to all for free. And it all starts on a Wednesday in March, so you know you can make it. Stephens notes that “the return of seeds to the seed library will be encouraged but not required. We will provide directions and eventually classes on how to save seeds from the end of the growing season, that may then be returned to the seed library for others to take. This will provide an important step in developing a network of seed savers while creating locally adapted varieties. We currently have organic heirloom/open pollinated vegetable, herb and flower seeds. We hope to add native plant seeds and seeds from vegetable and herb plants grown by library patrons. These plants will have adapted to our specific ecotone.”
Stephens shares that “Susan LaVista, the library’s director, has graciously welcomed the addition to the library, noting that libraries need something new to encourage people to continue using the space. Since the partnership in developing the Good Ground Seed Library between ECI and the Hampton Bays library, I’ve spent hours upon hours sorting seeds generously donated by several organic seed suppliers, including the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium. With the help of the members of ECI, a local Girl Scout troop and other volunteers, we’ve been sorting, labeling and stuffing seeds into envelopes for three months.”
Following the unveiling, at 7 p.m., ECI Founder and Education Director Marc Fasanella will present “Restoring Good Ground: Sowing Seeds of Change.” As stated in a press release, “The goal of ECI’s Good Ground Restoration Project, including the seed library, is to preserve the components of the community we value and advance the interests of the community in a sustainable way.”
Seed Library Unveiling at Hampton Bays Public Library, 52 Ponquogue Avenue, Hampton Bays on Wednesday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m.; talk at 7 p.m. Free, no reservations required. 631-728-6241, hamptonbayslibrary.org, eciny.org