13 August, 2022

 Contact info at the end.


Seed Library of Los Angeles – Preserving Our Past For  Our Future

By Michele Robinson


With the help of many other seed devotees, Founding Chair, David King started The Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA), a non-profit organization in 2010. Since its inception, the organization has grown to over 700 members.

 The Seed Library of Los Angeles is dedicated to collecting, studying and preserving varieties of seeds for future generations. King and his fellow seed fan's' goal is to save older, open-verity  seed varieties before they disappear from our planet.  

“I wanted to assemble a large library of viable seeds to distribute to our members to get non-GMO and unpatented seeds for the future,” says King.

 The reason we need to breed a variety of crops is because it helps farmers overcome challenges like crop failure due to drought, climate change, or other issues. According to King, the best way to preserve what we have and not lose any more varieties is to catalog these older varieties and keep  them in production.

 According to an article written by Mark Wilson in 2012, in 80 years, between 1903-1983, we lost 93% of the amount of food seed varieties. For example,” In 1903, we had almost 500 varieties of lettuce. By 1983, we had just 36. https://www.fastcompany.com/1669753/infographic-in-80-years-we-lost-93-of-variety-in-our-food-seeds). The loss of diversity is the culprit; we need to have many different varieties not for just the sake of having them - they may contain genes that are just right for this or that plants survival.

 The seed library is important because it allows people to grow seeds to save seeds in short supply and share seeds. Some of the seeds that the seed library collects gets grown for food, other seeds are grown for seed and still others are grown for both food and seed.

As King says, they are “seed-saving gardeners” with their mission to “save old seeds that are not patented or genetically altered in laboratories

 The Seed Library is looking to breed viable seeds that come to fruition and want to provide alternatives to genetically modified seeds (GMO).

 “They breed true. Not hybrid or GMO seeds,” says King. King explains that it is illegal to grow genetically modified seeds because they have patents and those seeds (wheat, corn and rice and others) are meant to feed cattle. Hybrid seeds are cheaper to produce and harder to destroy. The process of genetically modifying seeds leave us with fewer plants being bred by farmers and gardeners tailored to their environment; giving such seeds for both and an ever-increasing inventory of un-GMOed and bred locally seeds, are not grown for quick profit.

SLOLA works hand in hand with the Learning Garden located on the Venice High School campus, the Learning Garden is open to the public on the weekends. People are welcome to come to meet King, get free gardening advice and learn hands-on techniques on how to garden and remove weeds. Many gardeners help weed and plant seeds in the garden with different themes, among them a Fabric Garden, including, for example, cotton seeds, flax (which is immature linen) and Venice High School Classes.

“It’s a wonderful little place of discovery. All ages are welcome,” says King.

 The Learning Garden also gives back to the community. The fresh vegetables grown are collected and donated to help feed those who are experiencing food insecurity and help increase food justice.  

King also has some gardening tips: He recommends not using any pesticides when gardening. He believes it is better to have less production than to spray anything onto the crops. Pesticides remain active in the air and soil and are bad for both humans and livestock and play a big part of our current loss of insects we love – like butterflies.

As King says, “I want to save a variety of seed food species. I have always wanted to be part of the movement and want to give folks a new perspective on seeds and the food they give us.”

 You can also visit King and his volunteers on the last Sunday of the month, from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Mar Vista Farmers Market (corner of Grand View Blvd and Venice). They will give out free seeds and lots of useful information, all absolutely free! http://www.marvistafarmersmarket.org/

For a nominal fee ($10 life-time membership), members can enjoy attending meetings, guest speakers, free seeds and learn how to save seeds. No one is ever turned away, so if you cannot pay the membership fee, you are still welcome to join. For more information visit the SLOLA website at https://seedfreedom.info/partners/seed-library-of-los-angeles-slola-usa/ or contact King at greenteach@gmail.com.