Sowing a Culture of Interdependence
Our seed library is going into it's 4th season, but we not been able to entice borrowers to return seed. I would appreciate hearing how other libraries have motivated gardeners to grow and return their seed. Since we are associated (and housed within) the public library, the library representative will not consider requiring identification, library card, or donations of money or seed. So, any other ideas?
You may consider finding local organizations to partner with. They can help you develop customize grow out programs for your community. Here's a good place to check too: http://seedlibraries.weebly.com/grow-out-program.html
If you haven't already, start digging into the hyphae within school gardens, church gardens, garden clubs, hobby farmers, community gardens, permaculture peeps, Grange members, Slow Food/Ark of Taste supporters, Transition Club (if you have one), GMO Free folks(always good to have politically active friends), etc. Find the community mycelium that can work easily with you!
Also, outside classes with these organizations will become an option in some cases. Donations are often offered if you provide a stellar workshop or event. Low cost, sliding scale charges (no one turned away) verbage works well too. This can help fund the purchase of new seeds as you continue to grow a community of seed saving gardeners and farmers.
Never be afraid to ask for financial donations. Private donations can help. The real gold lies within corporate partnerships. It is a write off and a marketing tool all in one. Do you have anyone who can put a little intellectual capital into developing this option? Hope you can share a success story down the line.
Are you offering frequent options to attend free seed saving classes? This really helped our group. We offer free classes every month, once on Sat and once on Tues evenings.
have you had classes on how to save seed properly? We don't require it, but we encourage seed saving/donation when people know what they're doing.
Our seed library is funded by donations through the Foundation. We did have to go to the state senate and get the seed laws altered to exclude seed libraries and community gardens from commercial seed laws.