Today I went to the Faulkner County Urban Farming Project’s Seed Swap at the Faulkner County Library. (FYI: The Conway branch of the Faulkner County Library houses the first Seed Library in Arkansas!) I haven’t been to the seed swap in a few years. When I worked at the library I even helped organize a couple of them. It was so inspiring to see the community show up and get as excited as I was about sharing seeds. Sometimes I fear I start to sound like I think about my garden way too much but then I come to these events and fit right in. Well sort of, we are all probably grown from an odd sort of bean.
Faulkner County Urban Farming Project is located be hind the Conway Branch of the Faulkner County Library. Their workdays are Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays 8-11am; Sundays & Thursdays at 3:30pm (Harvest for the pantry on Thursdays)
“The Urban Farm Project began in the spring of 2010 as a gardening competition between Conway’s three colleges. As students and professors turned a grassy yard into a blossoming vegetable garden, it became clear that this was no competition, but a collaborative effort towards a greater good. Through natural, local food production, this garden is an effort to foster sustainability and a sense of community in Conway.”
The Locals are group of individuals working to build community based programs such as a Food Hub, the Urban Garden, and the Farmers Market Promotion Program.
“Our goal is to help people help each other. Using the principals of creative placemaking–a movement that highlights the unique character of a place by fostering creativity–we strive to cultivate a vibrant community where small local producers flourish, where art is everywhere and where anybody who wants to make awesome stuff happen can easily find collaborators and partners in crime.”
ROOST (Revitalizing Ozark – Ouchita Seed Tradition) is a new organization and seed bank out of Russelville, Arkansas.
“A project dedicated to protecting and improving the diversity of heirloom seed varieties, agricultural folkways, knowledge, and practices throughout the Ozark -Ouachita bioregion. Agricultural tradition and heirloom varieties are maintained and spread as farmers and gardeners save seeds and share then with each other. ROOST provides a central seed bank, works with local growers, and helps to organize seed exchanges in local communities to facilitate this process and ensure that seeds and the stories and meaning that have become a part of their essence are preserved.”
I brought my purple hull cowpea seeds. They are the only seeds I have been diligent about saving these past few years and I had plenty to share. And I thought why not put a little effort into making them look really special too.
Wrap them up like the true gift that giving seeds is. So I took my box of scrapbook paper from my old crafting days and worked up a template. I also use printable stickers to create a label. These also make a great hostess or house warming gift. You can download a PDF of it here. And the instructions here. And a quick little video showing you how to put them together.
There’s more behind the idea of a seed swap than just getting free seeds for your garden. It’s the passing on of information, stories, and histories and contributing to the survival of heirloom and open pollinated seed. A seed swap is about learning where this seed came from. How it was passed down through family members or neighbors in a community. Seeds meant you wouldn’t go hungry. Seeds meant hope.
Today through the act of sharing seeds we can build hope that we can fix the amounting problems in our food system. Hope that we can bring the knowledge of growing a garden to a food desert. Hope that these skills can make us more aware of the needs of our planet and the people on it.