2017-07-15 / Front Page

Seed exchange grows like a weed

Young gardener Avery Ruane sorts through the hundreds of packets of seeds available at the Potter County Seed Exchange in the Coudersport Public Library. Goal of the program is to increase the capacity of the community to feed itself wholesome food while supporting education, self-reliance and a culture of sharing.Young gardener Avery Ruane sorts through the hundreds of packets of seeds available at the Potter County Seed Exchange in the Coudersport Public Library. Goal of the program is to increase the capacity of the community to feed itself wholesome food while supporting education, self-reliance and a culture of sharing.
Participation is growing as the Coudersport Public Library’s seed exchange hits its stride.

Through a partnership with local resident Pam Ruane, the library is the repository for free seeds that budding gardeners and horticulturists have been taking home to plant.

“It’s not too late to get started,” Ruane told Endeavor News. “Quite a few people have picked up seeds and we’re anticipating they will have a good harvest.” Purpose of the exchange is to increase the capacity of the community to feed itself wholesome food while supporting self-reliance and a culture of sharing.

Seeds for herbs, vegetables, flowers and ornamentals are available. All that’s asked in return is that participants return some of the seeds they save to the library at the end of the growing season.

Ruane said the program has enjoyed a spike in participation thanks to the popular stone painting hide and seek game, known as “Rocks On,” that’s been sweeping the area.

“We decided to start painting and hiding our own rocks as a way of promoting the seed exchange,” Ruane explained. “It gets the kids outside and helps them learn where their food comes from, while they have fun at the same time.”

Rocks painted by Ruane and her friends and family can be brought in to the library to be swapped for packages of seeds.

A large donation of rehabilitation seeds recently arrived for distribution. They’re seeds that are at least two-years-old and can often be more difficult to cultivate than younger seeds.

“We’re asking people to take them home to plant to see if we can get them to germinate,” Ruane said. “Our hope is that some of them will sprout, so we can get fresh seeds coming back to us to redistribute next season.”

Library director Teri Mc- Dowell has built on the seed exchange to organize presentations covering canning, composting, sustainable growing practices, gardening tips and other topics. A program for young children will be scheduled in the near future. It teaches kids how their food grows and how to plant seeds.

“Many people aren’t get- ting the nutrition they need from fresh fruits and vegetables,” Ruane explained. “Families are eating out more, or they’re purchasing pre-packaged foods.”

As a result, she continued, there are heightened rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and other health-related issues.

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