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Group sends seed to promote organic gardening

It's about the time to start sprouting seeds for spring and summer crops, and one group is making sure people in the area have supplies for growing their own food.

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. — The Bloom Seed Library is a private club that buys and collects donated seeds to distribute to their members. It's free to join, and the idea is to choose seeds, plant them, and then donate seeds back to the library after harvesting. The club began last year and was run at a farmers market in Bloomsburg

"Food security concerns was part of the library creation, and the idea was that if everyone had access to materials where they could grow their own food, then that would be great," said member Dave Maxwell.

Maxwell says more people are looking to do just that. During the coronavirus pandemic, many people are looking to avoid the grocery store. Last year 160 people joined the library, and now that number has more than doubled.

"In the past six days, we've had more requests for seeds than I think we had the entire summer last year," explained Maxwell.

But without a physical location to distribute the seeds, they've had to get creative as they try to expand the club. Members can select the seeds they wish to use online, and they'll be delivered free of charge. 

They've been dropping seeds off at addresses in the Bloomsburg area, but they've also been taking donations of envelopes and postage stamps to mail out their products.

Since making the switch from in-person to online, Maxwell says the group has applied for nonprofit status in hopes of acquiring bigger donations from large seed companies to give people even better access to organic produce.

Pulled packets today for the first round of deliveries. We're hoping to get more ready tomorrow. Converting the library to postal delivery is a fun and interesting process!

"In person, people were looking, checking out a couple seeds, but now with the online platform people are looking and saying, 'I can build my whole garden right here,' and I'm getting requests for 20, 30 different types of seeds," added Maxwell.

The club is also working with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and some master gardeners to roll out some how-to videos to help first-time gardeners get started.