The Chippewa Nature Center was abuzz with visitors to the fifth annual Central Michigan Seed Swap last Sunday, February 24. Nearly 400 people from across the state came to hear the words of seven individuals presenting on a variety of topics as vast as the varieties of seeds shared themselves. From heirloom vegetables and growing microgreens, to starting a seed library, education was at the top of the list for this popular event.
Artisans, food vendors, community partners and more gathered to set up booths and share knowledge and opportunities as well as seeds with everyone interested. Plenty of games and activities were on hand for children so the entire family could enjoy the excitement that fills the air when spring is near and gardening is being planned.
The fifth annual Central Michigan Seed Swap and welcomed nearly 400 people from across the state.
“We're all so happy to have had such a successful event regardless of the weather concerns. When so many like-minded people come together to celebrate something as important as local food and heritage seeds, it creates such an exciting energy and true momentum towards greater food security for all,” says Ben Cohen, founder and organizer of the Central Michigan Seed Swap.
There was truly excitement and momentum over the seed swap, and a related phenomenon that Cohen has been cultivating throughout the United States and even internationally. He has started seed libraries all over the Midwest region, which will ensure that heritage seeds will continue to be cultivated into delicious vegetables and foods for generations to come. A seed library works like a library filled with books, but with a twist. Instead of a catalog of cards or online databases, there is a catalog of seeds.
Seed sharing helps keep heirloom varieties going strong in our community and food system.
Little envelopes, filled with heritage seeds, are available to be perused. Should you find the type of seed you want to plant, you “check out” some of them, and after planting them and harvesting the seeds of those foods, you return the new seeds to the original library catalog envelope. This is how Cohen and others like him are making sure we never lose some of our nation’s most beloved fruits and vegetables.
Events like the Central Michigan Seed Swap, the largest of its kind in Michigan, ensure that consumers both young and old understand where food and native plants come from. “We are so thankful to the CNC for hosting us, our generous sponsors for supporting our efforts and all of the wonderful people that came together this past Sunday to share their seeds and stories!” says Cohen.
You can look for the next seed swap during the same time next year, and for more information, please visit the Small House website.