Seed Swap Event Hopes to Grow Gardening Community in Manchester

by | Jun 2023

THE COFFEE County-Manchester Library is looking not only to grow plants but to grow the community. They recently hosted a seed swap event where patrons and the public could stop in and learn more about plants and each other. 

The event was the idea of the youth service librarian and event coordinator, Daphanie Gragg, who wanted to offer an opportunity for gardeners to learn from each other and share expertise. 

“We had a nice turnout for our first event,” she said. “We welcomed several guest speakers who offered knowledge and experience with growing plants. Personally, I was enthralled with everything they had to say. For this event, we taught people how to do winter sewing and milk jugs, which is very effective in preparing for spring and summer gardening.”

Attendees could exchange tips on gardening techniques, pest control, and fertilization. The event also allowed growers to learn about new plant varieties adapted to their particular environment.

According to Gragg, the swap and learning more about gardening allowed patrons to build community. People in attendance had a shared interest in gardening and sustainability, allowing them to create new friendships. 

Photographed by Ashleigh Newnes.

“It was great to see everyone talking with each other and building relationships that will hopefully last long after the event,” said Gragg. “Everyone was kind and helpful. There were master gardeners learning from average gardeners. Everyone was there to learn and grow more in their love of gardening.” 

Swaps like these are an excellent way to promote environmental stewardship, preserve traditional seeds, and build community. Gragg said these events have a powerful impact on gardeners and the ecosystem, ensuring that future generations can enjoy the many benefits of growing their food while protecting the environment. 

“We want to continue these events because we are about enriching the community and helping educate them to care for each other and themselves and their families,” she said. “We plan on having several events with themes of providing knowledge to the community and helping uplift and inspire the community to do better, learn more, and take more ownership.” 

Gragg added that the event is just the beginning of what she hopes to be a growing series of events where the library becomes not only a place to get books but a place to get produce and learn about growing plants and more. The library has several “swap” events, including a plant and produce swap. 

“We are also hosting a plant swap,” she said. “Whether you want to try something new, share what you have grown, or just gain more knowledge about what you are growing. Following our plant swaps, we will host produce swaps. This event will be just like the seed and plant swap. People can try something new or share the bounty of what they have grown. We are excited to see where this can go.” GN 

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