Pennsylvania Seed Libraries Spared
Apr 01, 2016 10:59AM
Spurred by a statewide coalition of concerned advocates, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has decided that that Seed Act of 2004 does not apply to non-commercial seed libraries. That includes cost-prohibitive licensing, labeling and testing requirements required of commercial seed distributors. The state has thus set a precedent to protect and encourage seed libraries throughout the commonwealth.
Seed libraries are nonprofit, community-based organizations. Through seed libraries, growers maintain and increase biodiversity, as they save seeds from season to season, and share seeds with one another. The number of seed libraries has surged in recent years; there are an estimated 26 seed libraries across the Commonwealth, with more than 350 nationwide. Concern about the compliance with the Seed Act has been a deterrent to seed library operations in Pennsylvania.
The statewide coalition includes the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Grow Pittsburgh, the Public Interest Law Center and members of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, as well as individual growers and organizations.