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Seed Libraries Across Canada - part 3

Continuing our series about Seed Libraries in Canada, here are three more fantastic examples of individuals and organizations spearheading efforts to diversify the seeds available in their local communities. Considering that we've heard from at least 50 local Seed Libraries in communities across Canada (and that number has almost surely risen) this could be a very long series!

Catch our previous articles: 

Seed Libraries Across Canada

Seed Libraries Across Canada - part 2

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. 



The Naramata Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library is home to a free, community seed exchange. 

Locally grown garden seeds are donated to the collection and are available to gardeners in the community. In the spring community members can “check-out” seeds with their library card. At the end of the season seeds are returned and “checked-in” to the collection. As the collection is borrowed, grown and returned the seeds will become more regionally adapted with each successive generation. The program will help develop the local sharing economy, preserve genetic diversity, and contribute regional food security. 

The Naramata Seed Library began in the fall of 2021 and will be lending seeds for the second time in the spring of 2022. It is held in the Naramata Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library which has seed lending programs other branches including in Summerland and Vernon.  

The Naramata Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library is located in the heart of Naramata village, 3580 - 3rd Street Naramata, BC.



Erin is a little town with a big seed library. The village is located between Guelph and Orangeville in Ontario and the seed library was established by Jen Edwards in 2017. It has grown from giving out 250 seed packets the first year to over 1000 annually. Spring Seedy Saturday events and seed photo contests have helped to increase the awareness of this great resource. 

Jen runs the seed library from growing out plants for seeds, harvesting and drying, accepting seed donations, marketing and event planning, to label creation, seed packing, and order filling. All seeds are free, but must be picked up in Erin. There is no income or time to mail orders.

To contact Jen, please go through the Erin Seed Lending Library website. Great videos and seed tips are also found on the website.


Photo from Jen Edwards of the Erin Seed Lending Library 



Dundas Seed Library 

Gardening encourages us to learn in a place-based context contributing to biodiversity, food production, and soil health, all of which supports pollinators and increases the adaptability of our community to the climate crisis.

The Dundas Seed Library has five seed libraries at installation sites across Dundas. An inaugural project by Action 13, they are maintained by a network of volunteers that sort and package the seeds, available to the community at no cost. The project was funded by Hamilton's Placemaking Grant in 2021.

The seed libraries are stocked with a focus on supporting biodiversity and grow-your-own food. Vegetable seeds are offered starting in March and a collection of seeds for plants native to the Carolinian zone of Ontario are offered mostly in fall. Many are locally sourced.

Crafted from reclaimed materials, each seed library is painted by a different local artist. They promote reflection on the individual installation location while also creating a mosaic of placemaking art through Dundas, exploring how residents have, are, and will interact with one another and our natural world in the face of a changing climate.

Action 13 is a community-led climate action group based in Ward 13 (Dundas, Centre Flamborough). Check out @13forAction on social media or visit for more information.


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