On March 20, 2019 - the first day of Spring - the Bay City Seed Library will return to the Bay County Library System for its second consecutive year. The Bay City Seed Library, which is a partnership between the Bay City Cooperative Market and the Bay County Library System, allows Bay County residents to check-out gardening seeds from the library to then plant in their own personal gardens.
According to Dennis Rosenblum, a Bay County resident since 2012 and a board member for the Bay City Cooperative Market, the goal of the local seed library is to help people grow their own food and to help people save money on groceries.
"In the area, there are a lot of low-income people who are living in places with a backyard which also happens to be decent agricultural land. You can save a lot of money by growing - in part - your own food. That seems like a worthwhile thing to encourage."
Located on the second floor of the Alice and Jack Wirt Library in downtown Bay City, The Bay City Seed Library operates in the same manner as a traditional library. Starting on March 20th, community members are encouraged to come to the library and pick out seeds from the display that they wish to plant in their own gardens (limited to 10 packs of seeds per person). Once they’ve picked out their seeds, they’re directed to “check out” the seeds from the front desk of the library. Then guests will go home and plant the seeds in their own gardens. At the end of the season, program participants are then encouraged to return fresh, clean seeds from their own garden back to the library for the upcoming year.
According to Dennis, The Bay City Seed Library is an ideal partnership between the Bay County Library System and The Bay City Cooperative Market.
"The Library is a great place for this, because they have access to other resources for canning, preserving, starting a garden, growing, and so on.”
Dennis also noted that this year’s program was completely funded through generous support from The Friends of The Library organization and Main Street Seed and Supply.
“We started the program last year, and I was able to get all of the seeds donated from various sources. But this year, I figured we couldn’t rely on donated supplies forever. So, The Friends of The Library agreed to finance the seed cost. They paid for buying the seeds and we got a notable discount from Main Street Seed and Supply.”
The creation of the Bay City Seed Library also fits perfectly into the Bay City Cooperative Market’s vision for Bay County.
“From the perspective of the co-op, the Seed Library ties into one of the core principles that guide our organization. That core principle is the belief that co-ops do things to help their communities.”
The Bay City Cooperative Market is comprised of a local group of individuals with a dream to bring a food co-op to downtown Bay City. In its simplest form, a food co-op is a grocery store that is owned by its members. Members pay an investment fee, help dictate which items are carried within the store, and oftentimes receive discounts on special days throughout the year.
The Bay City Cooperative Market currently has 200 investors. The goal is to have 1000 investors at the time of the market's opening.
While The Bay City Cooperative Market is working to identify future investors, the Bay City Seed Library also serves as a great resource for the community and a marketing tool for the organization.
"In the meantime [before the Market breaks ground], we can focus on things like the seed library. It helps the group, because it gets our name out there a little more. It is also something that the group can do to positively impact the City of Bay City."
If interested in learning more about the Bay City Seed Library or the Bay City Cooperative Market, please visit their Facebook pages listed below.
For more information on the seed library, follow this link.
For more information on the Bay City Cooperative Market, follow this link.