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Public Libraries Are Giving Out Seeds In The Name Of Sustainability

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While library collections aren't always known for branching far beyond typical literary matter, a different kind of learning material is cropping up next to the books and DVDs at hundreds of public libraries across the country: seeds. In an effort to "expand access to crops and educate the public, while also protecting scarce agricultural resources," according to Atlas Obscura, public libraries are offering free flower and vegetable seeds to library card-holders.

The initiative started in 2010 when Rebecca Newburn, co-founder of the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library in Richmond, California, helped introduce the concept to her local library. Just a few other libraries around the country had such a program then, but in 2011, Newburn put the framework for the program online so others could get involved. She also created the Seed Library Social Network to connect the programs and share tips. Now, there are around 500 seed lending programs in public libraries.