About Our Seeds
We offer heirloom and open-pollinated seeds for vegetable, flower, and herb varieties. Many of these seeds we produce on our own small farm; the rest we source from other local farmers, farmers in other regions, and from trustworthy wholesale seed houses that are not owned by or affiliated with multi-national biotech companies. We have signed the Safe Seed Pledge, and we adhere to Vandana Shiva's Declaration of Seed Freedom. As of May 2013, we are both a Certified Organic farm and a Certified Organic Handler (both by NOFA-NY LLC). Thanks to gardeners like you, we've been able to expand our catalog of heirloom and open-pollinated seeds every year. Thank you!
How We Started
Ken Greene started the Seed Library in 2004 while working as a Librarian at the Gardiner Public Library in Gardiner, New York. Having developed a strong interest in preserving heirloom seed varieties, he decided to add them to the library catalog so that patrons could "check them out," grow them in their home gardens, and then "return" saved seed at the end of the season. The program was a small but successful endeavor--one of the first of its kind in the country. After four years of running the program at the library, Ken and his partner Doug decided to turn the library into a mission-driven, homestead-based small business--which it still is today.
The Seed Sanctuary
The heart of the Seed Library is our small farm in Accord, New York, located in the scenic Rondout Valley between the Catskill Mountains and the Shawangunk Ridge. Here, we cultivate about three acres of production and trial gardens. We produce hundreds of pounds of seed each year, learn about new varieties that we may like to offer in our catalog, and undertake breeding projects in the traditional methods of plant breeders. We have only ever used organic practices on the farm, and it became Certified Organic in May, 2013. We hold several events each year when the public is invited to tour the grounds. To find out when the next event is, please sign up for our e-mail list.
The Pack Art
We celebrate the genetic diversity of heirloom varieties by commissioning diverse art works, in diverse media, to put on our seed packs. Each year we issue a public call for art. We sift through applicants and eventually choose about twenty applicants to design and produce a unique work for a new variety. Our artists come mainly from the Northeast; many are avid gardeners.
The Seed Squad
The Seed Library has become what it is today thanks to a team effort by talented, hard-working folks. The seed squad includes:
- Ken Greene, Managing and Creative DirectorKen founded the Seed Library in 2004. He is a tireless advocate for seed sovereignty and the important role of art in celebrating our agricultural and horticultural heritage.
- Doug Muller, Technical and Financial ManagerDoug co-founded the Seed Library with Ken Greene as a business project in 2008. For the first three years of the business he was the lead farmer, and he is now the supervisor of the technical and financial aspects of the business.
- Erin Enouen, Sales and Catalog ManagerErin, a former CSA farmer, manages the Seed Library's sales strategy and catalog offerings. She travels to retail and wholesale trade shows, evaluates new varieties in our trial gardens, and finds sources for rare and valuable varieties.
- Stu Dorris, Grower and Grounds SupervisorStu manages our two-acre production farm, growing, harvesting, and processing seeds with the help of several crew members. He also works with other regional growers to help them produce quality seed for the Seed Library.
- Brian Nelson, Warehouse ManagerBrian is in charge of pulling, packing, and shipping all orders for both wholesale and retail customers. When he is not boxing up gift baskets, you can find him on his bike on the trails and roads of Ulster County.
- Lauren Waddington, Sales AssistantLaruen is a recent addition to the Seed Library team. She fields phone calls, e-mails, and other correspondence, and she guides both retail and wholesale customers through the sales process.
- Robin Whitlock, Lead PackerRobin's swift hand movements are the model that our packers follow to fill and assemble over 200,000 seed packs each year. When she isn't packing seeds, she runs a dog-boarding business that you can check out by clicking here.
- Michael Asbill, Art CoordinatorMichael coordinates the traveling gallery show of original art works made for the seed packs as well as a show of prints of these works. He also helps coordinate the annual call for art.
- Tusha Yakovleva, Blog Editor and Social Media ManagerTusha was our farm intern for the summer of 2013. Since then she has managed our blog and social media efforts.
- PackersEach fall-to-spring season, we hire several part-time seed packers. Our current packers, Jen, Laura, Rachel, Dan, and Angela, are an essential part of the team. Think of them as you sow your next batch of Seed Library seeds!
A Seedy Future
With your support, the Seed Library will continue its mission of growing, harvesting, and celebrating heirloom and open-pollinated garden varieties. In 2014, we will move into a new on-site warehouse and office building, which will allow us to expand our catalog and better welcome visitors to our farm. We will work with new small-farm seed producers and reach out to home and small-farm growers in innovative and educational ways. To stay in the loop, please sign up for our e-mail list or check out our Facebook page.