Start a Seed Library

So you want to start a seed lending library in your community? Here’s how to do it:

Starting a seed library is a powerful and effective way to support seed sovereignty where you live. It’s also a lot of fun! Luckily you don’t have to build it from scratch – there are some in-depth, easy-to-follow resources available to guide you through the process. has step-by-step instructions on launching a community seed library, including detailed webinars. Just click the “Start a Library” menu at the top of the homepage. They even provide a downloadable toolkit with everything you need to get set up. All resources are 100% free and open-source.

Link Up with Other Seed Libraries

Once your seed library is up and running, be sure to add your location to the database at by clicking the Sister Libraries link under the “Start A Library” menu tab. You should also add your library to RMSA’s Seed Libraries directory. Finally, join the Seed Libraries social network to get connected with the growing global community of seed librarians and advocates.

Pro Tips for Budding Seed Libraries:

  • Start small. You don’t have to have hundreds of varieties, a fancy chest of drawers, or years of personal seed saving experience to launch a successful seed library. Get the basics in place and let things grow over time!
  • Be enthusiastic.Passion goes a long way with grassroots projects. When pitching your project to potential locations or wrangling helpers from the community, your infectious enthusiasm for seeds will always seal the deal
  • Don’t go it alone. Seed librarians will tell you, the biggest challenge they face is burnout. Seek volunteers early and make sure to share the workload.
  • Stay informed and inspired. As a seed librarian, you’ll be the go-to person in your town for the local seed movement. Keep your finger on the pulse by reading books, watching films, and following social media connected to the seed movement. We recommend the film SEED: The Untold Story and the book Seed Libraries: And Other Means of Keeping Seeds in the Hands of the People by Cindy Conner. To learn the history of the seed library movement, check out this article written by RMSA staff.
  • Have fun! If you’re not laughing and smiling at least half the time, you’re doing it wrong. Seeds bring people together around hope and joy, so make sure that is in your heart as you work. The rest will fall into place.
 Image credit:  “Seed Library at Berryessa” by San José Public Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0.