Nashville Public Library Kicks Off Seed Saving Program By Melissa D. Corbin

The Nashville Public Library has started a seed-saving program called "The Seed Exchange." Katherine Bryant, librarian at the Bellevue branch, was inspired by an NPR Salt article about the Pima County Seed Bank in Arizona. Here they have archived the largest seed-saving bank by a public library in the United States. With more than 50 programs across America, Nashville is now doing their part to nurture a community of gardeners and farmers interested in protecting the very lifeline of our food shed. Katherine explains, "The Seed Exchange's primary goal is to curate a bank of seeds that can be distributed to the general public, which will preserve and strengthen local biodiversity. Another goal is to get people to garden who have not had the opportunity or inspiration otherwise."

Here's how it works:
The Seed Exchange is available to any Nashville Public Library cardholder. Branches participating are Bordeaux, Inglewood, Edmondson Pike, and Bellevue. Library patrons may "check out" vegetable, fruit, herb, and flower seeds that have been packaged and labeled for the current growing season. Once gardeners have harvested their crops, they may return seeds from the mother plants to the library for the next growing season. Unlike books, there is no library fine for non-returned seeds. Seed return is not required but certainly is appreciated.

There also will be a series of classes starting this spring. Seed-starting, gardening, composting, and seed-saving are on the agenda so far. For class details, check out the events calendar at

A few of the Nashville Public Library community partners who have donated seeds are Bells Bend Neighborhood Farms, Delvin Farms, Hands on Nashville, Six Boots Collective, and Master Gardeners of Middle Tennessee. Katherine is currently looking for more community partners to lead classes and to contribute a diverse array of seeds for the Seed Exchange. Any unopened seed packets and saved seeds that are open-pollinated or heirloom varieties are needed.

Sponsors' logos will be included on any seed-lending library promotional materials, and their support will be recognized through seed-saving and gardening programs held at the library. Additionally, donations are tax-deductible with a requested gift receipt. If you are interested in becoming a community partner or would like more information, please send all inquiries to Or you may visit their Facebook page,, to become a community member.

Melissa D. Corbin, also known as "Corbin in the Dell," is a consultant for businesses that are concerned about where their food comes from. You can read more about Melissa at