The Bay Area Seed Interchange Library (BASIL) Project is part of a growing network of concerned farmers and community gardeners dedicated to conserving the remaining genetic diversity of our planet’s seed stock.
We have created a library of healthy vegetable, herb, and flower seeds that are available free to the public at the Ecology Center in Berkeley.
BASIL hopes to encourage good growing techniques by offering seed saving classes, access to literature, and one-to-one help from experienced seed savers. We are a dynamic group that needs your support and involvement!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (510) 548-2220 ext.233 to learn more.
**Please note that Staff cannot answer questions regarding seed inventory.**
To limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure the BASIL seed library cabinet will temporarily be closed to public browsing and self service as traditionally done. Instead, we will be distributing pre-packaged seed packets for fall planting. Please visit the table in front of our resource center inside of the Ecology Center Store to pick up seed packets and drop-off donations.
Seed Browsing Hours: Wednesdays and Fridays 11 AM – 6 PM
*note our Helpdesk staff will be out Wednesday 3/31 and Friday 4/2, and our seed library will be temporarily closed for browsing
We want to thank you all for your continued support and interest in BASIL during this difficult and unprecedented time. In the time that BASIL has remained closed to the public, we have been unable to collect seed donations, and are low on seeds for next year. Our seed library relies on locally-grown seed donations to encourage community members to grow their own food and preserve seed biodiversity in the East Bay. We will begin accepting seed donations to be dropped off at the Ecology Center resource center (2530 San Pablo Ave) starting September 23, 2020. We ask that seed donations be dropped off in 1 bag and seed varieties be labeled with seed type, growing location, and month/year of harvest. We’re excited to begin processing seeds for the next year!
What are we doing?
Seeds are magical: given proper stewardship, they will acclimate to specific areas over time. By growing them out, we weave the stories of our lives and seeds into an unending chain of community, tradition, and history.
If we can create a local abundance of fertile and non-engineered seed, we can participate in the International Solidarity Seed Project by donating our surplus to communities around the world that have difficulty accessing viable, open-pollinated seed.
How does the seed library work?
View the following video to learn how the library works.
Why save seeds?
Genetic engineering enables “life science” corporations to control plant traits by “programming” the seeds. Monsanto’s infamous implementation of trait-control technology is often referred to as the “Terminator” seed. “Terminator” seeds yield plants that produce no viable seed of ther own. Trait-controlled plants that breed with traditional varieties may pass on engineered traits to the offspring. If non-evolved plant varieties are permitted to squeeze out natural and/or carefully cultivated varieties, seed saving may nearly disappear. Our nourishment or hunger might then depend on chemically dependent or infertile trait-controlled plants.
Traditional knowledge of seed saving and plant propagation techniques exists in fewer and fewer minds and communities. In order to create a positive ecological future for the planet, we need to begin teaching each other the skills necessary to save our own seeds. We’ve got to engage with traditional agricultural knowledge, and work to anticipate the needs of future generations.