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Back to February 2022 Newsletter

Seed Libraries Across Canada

Inspired by the article about Fernie’s Seed Library in our previous edition, we’ve compiled an overview of some other seed libraries that exist across Canada. This is in no way meant to be an exhaustive list, as there are dozens of seed libraries in dozens of communities across the country. If you know of any others that you’d like us to highlight, let us know! We’ll share more examples in future e-bulletins. Email 


Before we get into the details, we should ask ourselves: What is a seed library? 

Simply put, a seed library is what it sounds like - a physical location of some kind in which people can obtain seeds for free. This is purposefully vague because they’re so individual; they differ so much from one to the next. And the ‘physical location’ part has become fuzzy amid COVID. In general, though, all seed libraries share a few common features: 

  1. Physical location - like a conventional library, a seed library has an established spot (or spots) to go in order to participate.

  2. People - also like a conventional library, a seed library is typically meant to be accessible to anyone in the community.

  3. Obtain - again, like a conventional library (are you seeing a pattern here?) a seed library provides the desired items, for free and usually through a borrowing and lending system. There are probably rules surrounding how many items (seed packets) you can take at a time and whether you are required/encouraged to return the items (seeds) at the end of the season. 


The main function centers on the protection and public access to seeds. 

It’s worth noting that all of the highlights below were completed in consultation with some lovely folks who run them. Here we go!



The small but mighty Naramata has two seed library projects - in this edition, we’re focusing on the “Seed Snail”. 

In collaboration with the Okanagan Seed Savers group, NaramataSlow have implemented a "Seed Snail" as a community seed swap in the village. NaramataSlow Seed Swap Snail is a community seed swap collaboration between NaramataSlow and Okanagan Seed Savers. It’s a free seed swap for anyone and everyone. Leave some seeds, take some seeds. And it is extremely popular since its installing in Spring 2021. It’s located at the Naramata Permaculture Farm Garden (Ellis Avenue between 4th and 5th Street, Naramata, BC), an open public food garden for anyone who wants to come and garden or forage for edibles. 

Why a snail? Because Naramata is an official CittaSlow, and the snail is a "Slow City" symbol. 

Fun fact - the seed exchange library was handmade from 90% repurposed and up-cycled materials!




The Calgary Seed Library is a brand new community initiative launching this spring. The idea was started and it’s been run by a group of individuals from Calgary. They worked last year at getting set up, collecting seed from their own gardens and donors, and painting a mural in the basement of The Next Page, an independent bookstore and coffee shop that is hosting the library. 

The plan is to have volunteer “librarians” present at certain hours throughout the week to sign people up with their library card, give information about planting and harvesting your seed, and lend seed out to folks!

Find the initiative on Instagram or send them an email:



Back to February 2022 Newsletter

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