Seed Libraries Struggle With State Laws Limiting Exchanges
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gardeners at hundreds of spots around the country are sharing seeds as part of an increasing interest in locally grown food, but some agriculture officials say the well-meaning effort violates state laws.
In spots like Duluth, Minnesota, the conflict has surprised gardeners and library officials who never thought to examine the intricacies of state seed laws.
Agriculture officials say they weren’t looking for a fight but must enforce laws that are intended to protect farmers by ensuring seeds are viable, will grow the intended plant and aren’t mixed with unwanted seeds for weeds or plants.
Advocates of seed-sharing programs said they don’t necessarily blame agriculture departments, but some express frustration that laws focus on the needs of modern hybrid seed producers while limiting age-old, person-to-person seed exchanges.