Penfield Library, the Office of Sustainability and the Oswego Public Library came together to celebrate National Seed Swap Day on Saturday, Jan. 27. They hosted a lively seed swap at the public library, with 24 local gardeners coming together to share seeds, seed catalogs, and seed-starting tips.

The event highlighted SeedShare, a collaboration between Penfield Library and SUNY Oswego’s Office of Sustainability, which originated in 2021.

“Our goals [for SeedShare] are to remove barriers to and provide opportunities for connecting with the natural environment, and provide educational opportunities to learn about self-sufficiency and sustainability around food production,” said Morgan Bond, Penfield Library’s electronic resources and systems librarian, who helped plan the seed swap event.

Extra seeds after the event were added to the SeedShare seed catalog housed on the main floor of Penfield Library, adjacent to the central staircase. Anyone may take seeds from SeedShare to grow in their own garden, even if their garden is just a flower pot or two in a window. The idea is that participants will eventually collect seeds from their plants and contribute those seeds back to SeedShare for others to grow.

“This program thrives on circularity and we encourage folks to both donate and take seeds,” said Kate Spector, SUNY Oswego’s director of sustainability. “SeedShare has been steadily growing and we are seeing an increasing number of folks saving and donating their seeds to the program.”

Penfield Library Clerk Jennifer Blanchard helped plan the seed swap event and is heavily involved in the SeedShare program. “Gardening is my passion,” Blanchard said after the event. “I want to show the next generation the thrill of growing their own food and then saving seeds to grow on the next year.”

“With the university's goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050, it's important that departments across campus work together to make lasting changes to reduce the University's carbon footprint. It's also vital that we educate the SUNY Oswego community so that they can contribute to these efforts, wherever they may end up,” said Bond. “Also, that first bite of your own home-grown food is magical, and I wish everyone could experience that satisfaction and joy!”

“It takes all of us to make a truly sustainable campus,” said Spector. “The library’s enthusiasm for, and interest in, adopting sustainable practices should serve as a good model for other campus departments and entities.”

-- Submitted by Penfield Library