The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has threatened the Duluth library's free seed-sharing program because it doesn't conform to the seed-distribution rules laid out for big agribusinesses.
Under the state's seed-sales laws (which cover free seed distribution) seeds have to be tested and labelled in a way that makes sense for bulk seed, but which would be impossible at the scale at which the libraries offer. Steve Malone, supervisor for Ag's Plant Protection Division said that "The last thing you'd want to have is somebody goes in the library, picks up seed, and it doesn't come up," which is pretty far from the "last thing" I'd want from my free community seed-swap. That would be to have the program shut down altogether because it's impossible to live up to the seed-testing standards designed for wholesale seed distribution:
For the Duluth library, the biggest hurdle is the germination testing.
Malone, the state agriculture official, said labs typically test about 400 seeds to get a scientifically valid result.
But that would be virtually impossible in Duluth, where most gardeners are only returning a few dozen seeds. Malone said a master gardener in Duluth could test a smaller sample size....
"But if you think about it, if we have a package of 10 seeds, do they take one and test it? Do they take five? And then half our seeds are gone for germination testing and can't be planted in a garden," she said. "So it's pretty tricky to see how that would work."
Duluth library's seed sharing program hits a hurdle [Dan Kraker/MPR]
I'm coming to Maine to keynote the Maine Library Association conference in Newry tomorrow (Sept 30); later that day, I'm appearing with James Patrick Kelly at the Portland, Maine Main Library, from 6:30PM-8PM (it's free and open to the public) This is the first time I've been to Maine, and I can't wait!
I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly).
Now folks who fly fish have the opportunity to pay it forward, thanks to the Flybrary Project. Much like the little book lending libraries, at “flybraries” people can leave a fly to share, or take one if they need one. And they are encouraged to create their own flybrary which they can then add to […]
We can’t all go through life with just a pair of sneakers and flip-flops. Sometimes, you have to invest in a pair of high-quality dress shoes. However, you’ve probably discovered that high-end footwear almost always comes with eye-popping price tags. You’ve got to compromise on second-hand or just suck it up and take out a […]
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