Victory for PA Seed Libraries


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      PA Seeds
      Photo: Seed keeping workshop led by Onika Abraham, Maureen O’Brien, and Owen Taylor

      The Department of Agriculture (DOA) has reversed its interpretation of the Pennsylvania Seed Act, thanks in part to our advocacy work.

      Seed libraries, often located in public libraries, are nonprofit organizations that collect, store, and distribute seeds. Members of the community are able to “check out,” grow, save, and store seeds for free. Seed libraries are important because they promote healthy lifestyles, provide free access to food, and maintain biodiversity. They not only benefit members of the community, but also strengthen local food systems. They can provide free and healthy food sources for communities in Pennsylvania, where one in eight Pennsylvanians is food insecure.

      The Pennsylvania Seed Act is comprised of numerous protocols that include costly licensing, labeling, and testing standards. Under DOA’s initial interpretation of the Seed Act, non-profit Seed Libraries would have been placed under the same criteria as Seed Distributers. This new classification would have essentially subjected Seed Libraries to these protocols, potentially restricting seed libraries from fulfilling their goals of saving seeds, sharing seeds, and promoting sustainable local food system.

      PA Seeds

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