• Protect Seed Libraries: USDA

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    In July, there was a story going round about how the Seed Library at the Joseph T. Simpson Public Library in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania was being shut down for fears of “agri-terrorism.” Indeed, according to one story, this was being done by the USDA and “Cumberland County Library System Executive Director Jonelle Darr was told that the USDA would, ‘continue to crack down on seed libraries that have established themselves in the state.’”

    I saw the articles and noted them for a future piece on here. Then I waited a bit while things settled down. And there isn’t much tempest to this particular teapot.

    After Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture adopted a policy restricting the Simpson Seed Library in Mechanicsburg, PA from sharing locally saved seed, several states have followed suit, threatening the continued existence of seed libraries.

    Seed laws exist to regulate entities that sell or commercially exchange seeds. A seed library is a noncommercial nonprofit, cooperative, or governmental organization that donates seed and receives donations of seed, especially by encouraging members to learn about seed saving and donate seeds to the library.

    Donation of seed is not required in a seed library, so the sharing of seeds does not even rise to the level of barter or exchange, let alone sell. Seed libraries are far different in nature and scale than commercial seed companies and need to be appropriately recognized under the law to protect their ability to continue freely sharing seeds in communities across the country.

    To: Directors of all 50 U.S. State …

    Even the Department of Health warns against pesticide exposure, but now its being bred right into our food. 800 million pounds of pesticides (and counting) simply can’t be washed off at the kitchen sink. Yet the Department of Agriculture has targeted a library – the same place books reside where likely the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt are printed in aged ink – “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.”

    Our organic seeds are our food salvation. The Department of Ag has no right to take the ability of good people to grow good food.

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