New library to “check out” seeds rather than books

There’s a new library program at Maides Park in Wilmington, but it doesn’t involve books.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 7:48 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - There’s a new library program at Maides Park in Wilmington, but it doesn’t involve books. Cardholders can now “check out” packets of seeds for fruits, vegetables and flowers.

The idea for the program started when Walmart reached out to Maides Park, asking if they wanted thousands of packets of seeds that would have been thrown out. Instead of handing them out, the library wanted to create a new and interactive program.

The goal is to expand the knowledge and awareness of local fruits, vegetables and healthy living. The library wants to host school field trips so the youth can learn more about plants and how they grow. The program, however, is not just limited to children.

“This is for anybody and everybody, not just seasonal or professional gardeners,” said Isaiah Lubben, Maides Park Recreation Supervisor.

The program is available for everyone and is free to join. There are currently 15 card holders and the library hopes to spread the word about the seeds across the community.

When your plant starts to produce seeds, individuals are encouraged to bring the seeds back in order to continually grow the library, although this is not a requirement.

They currently have around 60 varieties of flowers, herbs and vegetables, including beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrot, chives, cilantro, cucumber, dill, okra, onion, parsley, parsnip, pumpkin, radish, rutabaga, squash and tomato.

I asked Lubben why he chose to start this program at Maides Park.

“In Wilmington, we are in a food drought,” he replied. “The library is in such a centralized area where we can give back to not just eastern Wilmington, but also to central Wilmington. This building is in the middle and now we can give to all.”

The seed library promotes ownership, awareness and investment in the community.

Those interested can sign up online or in person. The library is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.