Planting Seeds of Change: The Heirloom Seed Library Launches

There’s a new reason to love living in Chicago during the summer: the new Jane Addams Hull-House Seed Library. It’s the first-of-its-kind library that lends heirloom seeds. By filling out a library card, I will have access to the seeds, reference guides and urban gardening workshops.

The Seed Library is similar to the conventional library. Instead of checking out books, seed library users can check out regionally adapted seeds and grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs, and/or ornamental flowers.

At the end of the season, users are asked to save the seeds and return them to the library. What a terrific exercise in community building.

These small acts of community building are worth watching. They represent deeper consumer yearnings to thrive by sharing. Rachel Botsman, author of What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, notes how the internet has facilitated the ability to share resources, including time and skills, with communities both local and global, and encouraged a shift in how we consume.

I plan to join the Seed Library. And I plan to watch how the concept takes…and if it sprouts a new spirit of community.