Seed swap encourages garden-growing knowledge

Maggie Holman, Campus Carrier Staff Reporter

The Rome-Floyd County Library hosted the inaugural seed swap on April 5 after a Berry professor, Berry senior and other organizations partnered to create the event to protect cultural knowledge of farming.

Brian Campbell, associate professor of anthropology and environmental studies, came up with the idea after living in Arkansas and attending seed swaps there.

“In Arkansas, there were annual seed swaps in 15 different counties,” Campbell said. “People would grow varieties out and swap them. It is about preserving things that we know were grown in the past.”

 For the Floyd County swap, people from the community brought in live seeds, such as aloe vera, chocolate mint and sorrel. Most of the seeds exchanged at the event were tomato and pepper seeds.

                                                                                   Nealie Smith, Staff Photographer
Junior Jon Risley discusses seeds at the Rome-Floyd County Library seed swap event
on April 5.  People from the community brought in live seeds and exchanged them
with others.  Most of the seeds exchanged were tomato and pepper seeds. 

Senior Charlotte Collins, who co-planned the event, said about 30 to 40 people attended.

“I was really pleased with that turnout,” Collins said. “It was great to actually see the seed swap come to fruition, and talk to people that are passionate about it.”

Campbell first gave a lecture from noon to 1 p.m. on seed-saving strategies and how to prevent cross-pollination or hybrid plants. He said 1 to 3 p.m. was a “free for all trade zone.”

Educational booths were set up with informational packets, and Berry students were there to talk to people and document seeds.

Campbell said the seed swap focused on handing down wisdom about garden-growing.

“The seed swap is an informal passing of knowledge from older to younger people,” Campbell said. “It is also about younger people who have never gardened having the ability to acquire seeds and learn from older people.”

Collins said the swap was designed to renew interest in farming and gardening.

“Studies show that only one percent of America farms now,” Collins said. “We wanted to mesh the younger and older generations to bring about the idea of food accountability and security. It is empowering to grow your own garden then contribute to the community. That creates sustainability through local independence.”

Senior Emma Childs, who attended the swap, said she hopes in the future it will bring “hope to the hopeless, food to the hungry and an air of mystery and miracles to a society that wants all the answers.” 

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