The other day, I saw THIS ARTICLE at NPR.org and I was blown away by how ingenious the idea is. In a nutshell, there are now several libraries around the country that are starting a new program; they gather together various seed species and varieties, and then store them in a seed bank at the library.
|Seed Bank image courtesy of NPR & Dylan Johns|
Anyone with a library card can then go into the library, find the seed bank, leaf through the seed choices, and "check out" the packet(s). They take them home, grow the vegetables and harvest the seeds from some of the best, largest, and hardiest that are grown. Those are "returned" at the end of the season and then a new cycle begins the next season with the library lending out those new seeds to start it all over again.
In a way, they are creating an heirloom bank of the best and hardiest plants from each variety (and even best for that particular climate and area). There are instructions included on how to save seeds, and are even broken down by category of "easiest to save" all the way to seeds "for expert savers".
I'm sure there are potential flaws in the program; for example someone lets their plants die for whatever reason, or forgets to harvest seeds. But it's still a totally amazing idea and a great way to get more people interested in gardening. Best of all, I bet it would really get children excited too.
Two thumbs up!