Seed Libraries Fight For the Right to Share

shareablelogo.gifBy:Christopher Cook

February 11, 2015

It’s easy to take seeds for granted. Tiny dry pods hidden in packets and sacks, they make a brief appearance as gardeners and farmers collect them for future planting then later drop them into soil. They are not “what’s for dinner,” yet without them there would be no dinner. Seeds are the forgotten heroes of food—and of life itself.

Sharing these wellsprings of sustenance may sound innocuous enough, yet this increasingly popular exchange—and wider seed access—is up against a host of legal and economic obstacles. The players in this surreal saga, wherein the mere sharing of seeds is under attack, range from agriculture officials interpreting seed laws, to powerful corporations expanding their proprietary and market control.

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Seed Campaign Updates

Last year, we found out that over 300 nonprofit seed libraries were at risk of being shut down due to misapplication of seed laws by several state departments of agriculture.

In partnership with Shareable and Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library, and with the help of the Clif Bar Family Foundation and Seed Matters, we launched a national petition campaign to build support for seed libraries and to tell regulators to protect our right to freely save and share seeds

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Sustainable Economies Law Center on CBS Bay Area Focus

Watch SELC build the legal roots of resilience before your eyes!On Sunday, January 25th, the Sustainable Economies Law Center's Janelle Orsi and Ricardo Nuñez were interviewed by CBS' Bay Area Focus! They spoke about the work SELC does and why legal resources are needed in every community to support the creation of cooperatives, renewable energy, shared housing and transportation, and more! Watch the video below!

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The Viability of the Commons

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Interview with Commons Transition

First published at CommonsTransition.org and republished under a Peer Production, P2P Attribution-ConditionalNonCommercial-ShareAlikeLicense

Can you define Commons Transition, tell us what it means to you?

Chris: To me, a commons transition speaks to the process of communities progressively controlling and self-governing more and more of their collective resources, by and for themselves and future generations. The “transition” implies that we are moving from one system of organizing society – in this case, global capitalism – to a wholly distinct socio-ecological paradigm rooted in age-old practices referred to as “the commons.” What’s particularly interesting about this transition is that, in many ways, it’s a return to principles of managing our homes that evolved over millennia before the onslaught of industrial capitalism. Our contemporary context is obviously much different from the indigenous and peasant cultures that sustained commons-based societies for thousands of years, but we have much to learn from them in how to undertake this transition.

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Check out our new FAQ for the Neighborhood Food Act

Today, the Neighborhood Food Act is officially in effect. So what does that mean for you? Find out by reading through our Neighborhood Food Act FAQ.

In the FAQ, you'll find answers to questions including:

  • Why do we need this law?
  • What does the law really do?
  • Who does the law apply to?
  • Can I sell food that I grow at home?
  • And more!

Click the link above to download a PDF copy of the FAQ, and visit our Food Resources page to find the FAQ and plenty of other food law and policy related educational resources.

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Duluth Library's Seed Sharing Program Hits A Hurdle

printLogo.gifBy: Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio

(Originally published November 30, 2014)

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has given a thumbs down to a Duluth seed-sharing program that allows members to borrow vegetable seeds from the library in the spring and later return seeds they collect from their gardens.

State agriculture regulators say the exchange — one of about 300 in the United States — violates the state's seed law because it does not test seeds.

Read the full article on MPRNews.org

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Owning is the New Sharing

By Nathan Schneider, Shareable

shareablelogo.gif"There are many ways to own. Simply giving up on ownership, however, will mean that those who actually do own the tools that we rely on to share will control them. People who want an economy of genuine sharing are coming to recognize that they must embrace ownership — and, as they do, they're changing what owning means altogether."

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