Award for seed library presented to Jen Edwards

ERIN – The Environment and Sustainability Advisory Committee of the Town of Erin presented its annual $500 award to The Seed Library on July 21.

The award was accepted by resident Jen Edwards during a garden open house at Erin Public School.

In March 2017, Edwards started The Seed Library to encourage people to grow something themselves and to promote local sustainability.

A seed library is a collection of seeds that are “borrowed” and grown by people who then return some of the harvested seeds to the library for others to grow.

In the library’s first year, 250 packets of vegetable and flower seeds were handed out. The Erin library was first to host the collection, but locations have expanded to include the Hillsburgh library and local schools.

Edwards has promoted the library at Erin’s eco-film fest, garden clubs, Willow Creek Community Nursery and local churches and schools. She also initiated seed libraries in Georgetown and Shelburne.

In 2018 and 2019, with the help of Martin Rudd, Stephi Skorwoth, and Cathy Aylard, Edwards hosted successful Seedy Saturdays, events with speakers and vendors raising awareness of the importance of seeds, seed education and the seed library.

“There is no need to buy tomatoes from Mexico in the fall [when we can grow our own here],” said Edwards, also a trustee on the public school board.

By providing free seeds and education, she encourages first-time growers to try something that others have grown successfully.

Also crucial to the initiative is promoting sustainability by growing, harvesting and sharing seeds in an ever-widening community.

“Everything that I have been doing for the seeds is free, because I want it to be easy for people to take the risk and try something new,” said Edwards.

“I am really excited by how much the seed library has expanded this year and I hope to continue to add to the number of people I can reach.”

The call for nominations for the award went out to the community in early spring and the selection is made by the committee.

The award is given to projects, initiatives, education, art, stewardship or other activities that have improved the environment and sustainability of the community.

It recognizes the importance of local actions to work for the common good of both people and the planet.

Last year’s winner was Cathy Hansen, a community activist, organic farmer and red seal chef who promotes eating within the “foodshed.”