This Week's Podcast: A Replay: "Check Out" Seeds with Ken Greene
Click on the small black arrow on the bar to listen, or the MP3 to download the show:
Ken Greene is the founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Library. This is a company and farm devoted to producing seed for home gardeners and farmers, fostering a regional seed-saving community, and celebrating seeds through art.
Ken started the Seed Library in 2004 while working as a librarian at the Gardiner Public Library in Gardiner, New York. Having developed a strong interest in preserving heirloom seed varieties, he decided to add them to the library catalog so that patrons could "check them out," grow them in their home gardens, and then "return" saved seed at the end of the season. The program was a small but successful endeavor–one of the first of its kind in the country. After four years of running the program at the library, Ken and his partner Doug Muller (left) decided to turn the idea into a mission-driven, homestead-based small business.
The Hudson Valley Seed Library offers heirloom and open-pollinated seeds for vegetable, flower, and herb varieties. Many of these seeds are produced on their own small farm; the rest are sourced from local farmers, farmers in other regions, and from trustworthy wholesale seed houses that are not owned by or affiliated with multi-national biotech companies. (Visitors to Ken Druse – REAL DIRT can learn more about the new movements in seed production by scrolling down and listening to last week's rebroadcast of a recent interview with Margaret Roach.)
The catalog has grown every year, selling pure, old-fashioned varieties and their own Art Packs. “We celebrate the genetic diversity of heirloom varieties by commissioning diverse art works, in diverse media, to put on our seed packs,” says Ken. “Each year we issue a public call for art. We sift through applicants and eventually choose about twenty to design and produce unique work for a new variety.