KAHOKA, Mo. -- Brenda Brown and others at the Sever-Clark County Library in Kahoka are still on a high after their successful first run checking out seeds to patrons ended just two weeks ago.
Starting in May, the library organized a "seed library" that allowed people to check out various kinds of seeds for free. In return, people could bring in seeds to replenish those that were checked out. The library is one of the first in the area to offer such a program, joining a national trend.
"A resident was interested in us having it, so we looked into it," Brown, the library's branch manager, said. "We wrote to different seed catalogs to get free seeds, and we got mostly vegetable seeds along with some sunflower seeds."
People could then check the seeds out for free.
"We liked the seed library program because it allows people to try growing new things," Brown said. "People were excited about it, and many brought back seeds in return and showed off whole plants."
Seed libraries started about 2010, the official Seed Libraries website says. It adds that the intention of seed libraries are to increase access to locally grown food; preserve and increase genetic diversity; strengthen genetically honest seed; and boost local resilience, among other benefits.
Although many seed libraries are operated by nonprofits, schools and other organizations, libraries are the most common place to find seed libraries because of their resources for community outreach and educational programming.
The nearest seed library both the Sever-Clark County Library and Hannibal Free Public Library are aware of is in Kirksville.
"Our first year doing the seed library went really well. Because it's our first time doing this, we were able to work out the kinks of it," Brown said. "We'll be better prepared to offer it again for the next growing season in April."