Seedfolks is an eclectic mix of Oakland, CA-based gardeners who cultivate food crops creatively in the marginal spaces of their urban environment.
In the spirit of reclamation, Seedfolks is following in the footsteps of neighboring seed libraries (Richmond Grows and BASIL) to revive and reclaim traditional knowledge of seed saving and plant propagation in anticipation of our community's current and future needs.
We are asking for the kickstarter community's help in funding the very first seed library in Oakland, CA. Within the library we’d have a variety of resources including non-hybrid vegetable, herb, and flower seeds; seed saving materials such as jars, labels and envelopes; a small horticultural reference library; a culinary cupboard (for seeds that can be used promptly in cooking); and rotating eco-art installations that focus on the community's seed stories and neighborhood food cultures. We would offer one-on-one help from experienced seed savers, host seed swaps and an annual scion exchange, and sponsor garden education mentorships for our community members. Local gardeners will check out seeds and attempt to let at least some of their crop go to seed so that they will be able to return some seeds from this next generation to the library, thus increasing the library's holdings and preserving successful seeds.
Seedfolks sees great importance in empowering the community to manage its own seed procurement and to break its dependence upon multinational companies.
As noted on BASIL's website, "In the last [three] decades, the majority of the world's family-owned seed companies have been bought out by multinationals..These companies are not interested in creating sustainable food systems and communities. They are busy replacing carefully bred strains of vegetables and flowers with their own hybrids and patented varieties. Hybrids don't produce viable seed, and the seed from patented varieties cannot legally be collected and used. Instead, the seeds must be bought fresh each year, forcing gardeners and farmers to purchase from corporate seed sources annually."
The Seedfolks Seed Library would live in the newly-forming Center for Sustainable Living in North Oakland, CA (a space that is being developed to showcase and foster sustainable living practices, urban gardening, community resiliency & preparedness, social justice, food security and artistic expression).
In our city, we have an abundance of energy going towards creating community food security with urban gardening programs, farmers' markets, food justice activism, etc. We feel that the propagation of seed libraries will complement the efforts of these progressive programs.
If the initial phase of our project is successful, we'd like to expand and potentially partner with our local public library system (as neighboring communities have done) to install seed satellite libraries in public libraries all over the city. In tandem with these seed libraries, we'd work to install edible garden plots at the library sites to serve as seed-saving demonstration spaces as well as community resources.
We have great access to carpenters who can design and build necessary structures; educators who can lead classes; and artists who can facilitate creative exhibitions at the space...we have an abundance of willingness and skill at our fingertips...all we need now is the funding to make this first stage of our project a reality!
Funds raised from our Kickstarter campaign will help to cover costs for
- our Seed Library staff to attend Native Seeds/SEARCH's Seed School
- library material construction costs (cabinetry, etc)
- used chairs/tables, and organizational materials
- publicity and informational materials (announcements, educational seed saving pamphlets, etc.),
- resource library materials (books on seed saving, food history, etc),
- multimedia materials (projector screen, projector),
- and reward production costs.
Please help our project germinate; support our library efforts!