For the second year, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA), the Watauga County Public Library and the Ashe County Public Library are working together to provide a catalogue of fruit, vegetable and flower seeds in time for the growing season. The mission of the seed libraries is to promote food security, community resilience, and a culture of sharing in the High Country.
“The seed library is a great way to help preserve and promote the amazing crop diversity of our region. Through the act of seed sharing, we are eager to make the practices of home gardening and seed saving accessible to the whole community.” explained Julia Showalter, board chair for Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture.
Housed in repurposed card catalogs, the seed libraries offer free, open-pollinated seeds that anyone in the community can “check out” in order to grow fresh vegetables and flowers in their gardens. Participants are welcome to then save seeds from those plants, returning the seeds to the Seed Library.
Monica Caruso, the Watauga County Librarian, expressed her excitement. “We are proud to welcome the Seed Library back for the second year this spring. Thanks so much to BRWIA and the county Cooperative Extension offices for supporting this valuable community resource. We hope to keep this project going for many years into the future,” Caruso said.
Ashe County Librarian Laura McPherson was also enthusiastic to see the seed library return, noting, “The seed library aligns perfectly with the library's mission to promote lifelong learning in Ashe County. Patrons who leave the library with seeds, planting guides, and books about seed-saving can successfully grow their own food and flowers.”
This project is a collaboration among the Ashe County Public Library, the Watauga County Public Library, and Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture. It is supported by the Ashe and Watauga County Cooperative Extension Services.
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is dedicated to strengthening the High Country's local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture. We do this by providing opportunities for women farmers to share knowledge, hosting a Farm Tour, providing opportunities for consumers to learn about self-sufficiency and connecting everyone to our local agricultural heritage and landscape. Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture currently serves:Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Mitchell, Wilkes, Watauga, and Yancey Counties in North Carolina as well as Johnson County, Tennessee.