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Byron Shire
October 4, 2022

Region’s first seed library breaks new ground

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Richmond Tweed Regional Library Branch technician Linda Bell (left), St Joseph’s Primary School student Tom Gresham and gardening authority and author Julia Hancock with some of the seeds now available at the new library. Photo supplied

The region’s first seed library was officially launched at Murwillumbah Library last week, enabling residents to ‘borrow’ and share seeds to grow their own fruit, vegetables and other plants.

Gardening experts and enthusiasts joined with Tweed Shire Council, library and school representatives to celebrate the launch of the seed library, which will be based at Murwillumbah Library to promote a sense of community sharing, sustainability and self-sufficiency.

Richmond Tweed Regional Library Branch technician Linda Bell said it was the third seed library of its kind in NSW and the first in the northern rivers.

‘Almost all the seeds have been donated by gardening groups and other locals, for plants which are already grown successfully in this area,’ Ms Bell said.

‘The seeds can be “borrowed” for free and taken home, just like a library book, and come with instructions on how to plant and look after them.

‘People are encouraged to let some of the plants go to seed, then harvest and bring those seeds into the library so someone else can borrow them,’ she said.

Tweed Area Librarian Colette Stapleton said the seed library was spawned by a suggestion from one of its regular customers and, after considerable public consultation to guide its implementation, was a great example of the library responding to community needs.

Tweed mayor Katie Milne (left), gardener and seed contributor Kathy Booth, with the garden toolbox she won as part of the launch, and gardening authority and author Julia Hancock at the opening of the seed library. Photo supplied
Tweed mayor Katie Milne (left), gardener and seed contributor Kathy Booth, with the garden toolbox she won as part of the launch, and gardening authority and author Julia Hancock at the opening of the seed library. Photo supplied

A guest speaker at the opening, gardening authority Julia Hancock, said seeds were the precious epicenter of our world and an important asset for the community.

‘Whoever owns seeds, owns life,’ she said.

Tweed mayor Katie Milne told the launch she was continually amazed by the wonderful work and variety of services provided by the library staff.

‘It’s one of the best services council provides and is used by around 50 per cent of our residents,” she said.

For more information, contact Murwillumbah Library on 6670 2427.

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  1. Echo Editors,

    I believe the first ‘seed library’ in the area was created by Michel Fanton of Seedsavers in Byron and pre-dates the M’bah library by ten years or more. Michel has spent his career not only collecting seeds but visiting several third world countries to teach the indigenous, non-agribusiness farmers how to plant and re-use their seeds instead of getting stuck into terribly expensive ‘one crop’ seeds as sold by Monsanto and other GMO bandits.

    M’bah may be the first “Lending Library” but is not the first “library” and Michel’s great work deserves both mention and perhaps an article in your publication.


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