Across Appalachia

Watauga County Launches Seed Library

Date: April 12, 2017

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By Adrienne Fouts

A woman looks through the seeds available in the Watauga Public Library's former card catalog. Photo by Cody Miller

A woman looks through the seeds available in the Watauga Public Library’s former card catalog. Photo by Cody Miller


Following the example of other seed libraries in Appalachia such as those in Berea, Ky., and Abingdon, Va., the Watauga County Public Library and Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture launched the Watauga Seed Library in Boone, N.C., on April 1.

Seed libraries offer community members the chance to receive free seeds to grow in their personal or community gardens. The Watauga Seed Library will offer open-pollinated seeds donated by companies and by dedicated “seed-savers,” who save seeds from their gardens to share in the library.

Dave Walker of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture says the Watauga Seed Library is a place to preserve heirloom fruits and vegetables that have adapted to the Appalachian region, as well as the stories and recipes associated with them that have been passed down through generations.

Ribbon cutting at the Watauga County Seed Library. Photo by Dave Walker

Ribbon cutting at the Watauga County Seed Library. Photo by Dave Walker

“We want to introduce people to new plant varieties that have developed in our area and to give a cultural context,” Walker says. “Food and place are really connected. A seed library is a physical space that can bring a lot of things together: the seeds, the people, the stories.”

Editor’s note: On April 7, the Ashe County Seed Library opened at the Ashe County Public Library, in partnership with Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and Ashe County Cooperative Extension Services.

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