Announcing the Bay City Seed Library

The Bay City Seed Library, a joint project of Bay City Cooperative Market and the Bay County Library System, will open March 20 — the first day of spring.

Located inside the Alice & Jack Wirt Public Library downtown at 500 Center Ave., the seed library will offer packets of seeds, free for the taking. We’ll have a wide variety of vegetables, along with some herbs and flowers, all donated for this project by established seed companies and organizations. The seed library will be available during Wirt’s regular hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday–Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday (through May).

Ben Cohen, a seed expert and activist (and an entertaining speaker on the topic) will talk in the library about seeds and why they’re worth saving. “Local food is only as local as your seeds,” he says. Ben’s talk will be 6-7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 19, the evening before the seed library opens.

So why is this called a seed “library”? Because just like the books and other materials that get borrowed and later returned to the public library, we hope you’ll return some harvested seeds later in the summer.

Those tomatoes, beans, carrots and other veggie plants that we grow come from seeds, after all. And the plants produce new seeds along with the food you enjoy from them. With a little effort and a lot of satisfaction, you can save those seeds to grow more plants next year. If you return seeds to the library, other people can carry on the process — promoting seeds that we know will thrive in our area.

Providing free seeds makes them more accessible for everyone, but it especially eases the way to growing food for first-time and low-income gardeners. A small section of a typical backyard, with the addition of sunlight (which is free) and water (also free, if you use a rain barrel) can produce a substantial amount of healthy food — a boon for people on tight budgets.

If you’re not sure how to harvest seeds, we’ll show you. It’s not hard. And if you take seeds but don’t get around to saving and returning some, that’s OK; we’ll try not to make you feel guilty.

Are you an experienced gardener? Would you like to become one? Do you want to interest a child in gardening? Whoever you are, we hope you’ll welcome spring by using your new seed library!