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Sharing Seeds from Farms to Gardens

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By Lauren Klein, UCCE Marin Community Garden Program Coordinator

Is it a ‘share-economy’ thing, an office cooler conspiracy, or a realization that cast-offs can be useful? Since my desk is a total of three feet from UCCE Marin’s Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator, Paulette Swallow, we are launching a “Farms to Gardens” Seed program to encourage local farms, nurseries, and residents to donate leftover, expired, and cast-off seeds and seedlings to community gardens in need. Recently, Paulette introduced the idea to local farmers during her field visits and apparently, the idea was well received. We’re thrilled that Janet Brown of Allstar Organics farm has already donated her left-over seed.

As UCCE Marin’s Community Garden Program Coordinator, I support community and school gardens in the County, many of which are in dire need of resources. Seeds and starts are a common need, as are compost, volunteer help, and tools and equipment. This is particularly true in low-income communities where neither extra money, nor extra volunteer time, is readily available, yet residents are eager to grow their own healthy and delicious food. I am working to coordinate UCCE Marin volunteer programs, such as Master Gardeners, 4-H, and collaborate with community partners, such as Marin Organic’s Farm to Field programs, to ensure that gardens receive as much support as possible.

Growing food hyper-locally in school and community gardens is a vital part of Marin County’s overall food system. This is because gardens and urban farms produce not only tasty, affordable, and culturally appropriate food, they also provide excellent opportunities for nutrition and environmental education. Knowledge about growing food is critical to our county’s health and well-being, and community and school gardens provide Marinites with hands-on opportunities to get to know how and where their food comes from.

So help our gardens grow by donating your extra seeds and seedlings today -- I’ll come pick them up! For more information, contact Lauren T. Klein, UCCE Marin Community Garden Program Coordinator, at (415) 473-4204 or lltklein@ucanr.edu.

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