By Linda Stern
There is a song by Pete Seeger called Turn Turn Turn. As the title suggests it is about renewal. The garden analogies are endless. The farmer turns and loosens soil in order to promote new growth. Plants emerge and then when they die we take their stalks and leaves cut them up and put them in a compost pile. The pitchfork goes in and turns the green and brown mixture and creates new life when added back into the garden it came from. Turn Turn Turn.
As we age we revisit aspects of our lives thought buried. This is something that I have experienced lately. Before I had my sons, I worked as a librarian. I chose to work in small libraries where a sense of community was important. I had no real desire to return to a field that I felt had lost this communal sense due to the introduction of computers. I had a change of heart after my first class in Urban Agriculture. As an older student I wondered what I could bring to the table, so to speak. I love to work in a garden but have physical limitations. Beyond those physical barriers lies the limitless intellectual world of gardening.
I started to read about Seed Libraries. A Seed Library is built on trust. A system that cannot work unless the community it serves literally gives back what it takes from it. You take a seed packet, you then plant and hopefully harvest a crop from it. You then bring back to the library the number of seeds you borrowed. Turn Turn Turn. Seed Libraries can be set up in a public library or a community center. Public access is important. Personally, I am all about figuring out how to organize a project, In this case making it user friendly. My ultimate goal would to find an accessible public space to create a seed library for the urban farmers and gardeners in the five boroughs. This project could break down some of the urban isolation someone might be experiencing and softening the pavement that the gardens are planted on.
– Linda Stern