#SaveSeedSharing - Summer Update, 2015

Campaign Updates

New state seed laws protect seed libraries and seed sharing

The biggest news of the summer is that we legalized seed libraries in two states!! Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) and our partners successfully drafted, advocated for, and passed laws in Minnesota and Nebraska exempting non-commercial seed sharing from their state seed laws. This means that seed libraries and seed swaps will no longer be subject to the state seed regulations that would otherwise create insurmountable barriers to seed sharing activities. These new laws will set a precedent for other states to provide new guidance to their regulatory agencies to promote, instead of restrict, seed sharing.

SELC meets with seed regulators to discuss seed sharing

IMG_1907.JPGAlong with Common Soil Seed Library and Native Seeds/SEARCH, SELC staff attended the Association of American Seed Control of Officials' (AASCO) annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri in July. AASCO is the trade association made up of seed control officials from every state, the very people who have the authority to enforce state seed laws on seed libraries. We participated in their meetings to the fullest extent possible, resulting in several productive conversations about the need to work together to create a clear legal space for seed sharing. SELC is continuing to educate seed control officials on the beneficial impacts of seed sharing and will work with AASCO and the seed library community to explore a positive alternative to current regulatory practices.

Oakland, CA adopts city policy supporting seed sharing

On July 21st, the Oakland City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of seed sharing and seed libraries, becoming the first city in California to officially support seed libraries. We applaud the City of Oakland for its leadership and foresight in supporting public and democratic access to seeds. Read the resolution by clicking here, and consider asking your own city to adopt such a resolution!

First International Seed Library Forum held in Tucson, Arizona


On May 3-6, 2015, the first International Seed Library Forum was held at the Pima County Public Library. Over 120 participants from at least 7 countries attended the gathering of seed librarians and seed advocates to discuss the state of the local seed movement, upcoming challenges for seed libraries, and how to grow and support the seed library community. In addition to the incredible networking, brainstorming, and collective problem solving that took place, forum participants drafted and signed a Joint Resolution In Support Of Seed Libraries that reflects the general consensus on the purpose and role of seed libraries in relation to a more just and resilient food system. To see a copy of the resolution, click here. Several of the recorded presentations are available to watch online by clicking here.

Advising the formation of an International Seed Library Association

One of the most exciting outcomes of the Forum was the creation of a steering committee to lead the formation of a new organization whose mission will be to support the growth of the international seed library community. Tentatively dubbed the International Seed Library Association (not the final name), the organization will support the development of new seed libraries, provide guidance on proper seed handling and storage techniques, collect and share educational resources for seed libraries and their members, and inform and advocate for seed libraries on issues that impact them. SELC is advising the creation of this organization, providing legal guidance on the various aspects of setting up a new nonprofit organization, and we're hopeful that this organization will develop into a backbone organization for the international seed library community.


  • Seeds of Time: This documentary film follows agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler's global journey to save the eroding foundation of our food supply in a new era of climate change.
  • Seed Libraries, and Other Means of Keeping Seeds in the Hands of the PeopleThis book, by Cindy Conner, is a practical guide to saving seeds through community programs, including:
    • Step-by-step instructions for setting up a seed library 
    • A wealth of ideas to help attract patrons and keep the momentum going 
    • Profiles of existing libraries and other types of seed saving partnerships
  • Seed Library Social NetworkThe Seed Library Social Network is an online social networking platform that includes members from around the world, many of whom participate, lead, or are interested in starting a seed library. There is a wealth of resources on the nuts and bolts of running a seed library as well as access to a growing community of seed librarians from around the world.
  • Shareable.net Seed Campaign Coverage: This is a series of articles from our partner Shareable.net covering the Save Seed Sharing campaign from its inception.
We've come a long way over the last year. 

Over the next several months, we will provide legal support to the emerging international seed library association, continue educating seed control officials about the importance of seed libraries and working with them to create sensible rules for them, and build the capacity of the seed library community to become citizen advocates as well. If you're as excited about the future of seed libraries and seed sharing as we are, then take a minute to support SELC by becoming a member today! Whether you can afford $5/month or $50/month, your contribution will help protect the future of our seed commons - the basis of our food system.

Showing 1 reaction

  • Neil Thapar
    commented 2015-08-27 09:06:57 -0700
    Hi Steve. So far, Minnesota and Nebraska have passed laws amending the state seed law to protect non-commercial seed sharing. Is there are a particular state’s status that you’re interested in? Feel free to send me an email ([email protected]) and I’d be happy to answer any questions.

Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: