20-05-29 Seed Exchange Manon Gaudreau@.jpg

Manon Gaudreau helps to collect, preserve and distribute seeds for local food production.

Gardeners are invited to share seeds, seedlings and plants with other gardeners during a Food Resilience Seed and Plant Exchange hosted by the Wood River Seed Library on Saturday.

The Seed Library was founded in 2014 to collect and preserve seeds tested as local plant varieties and distribute them to the community.

Volunteers will oversee the seed and plant exchange on Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Hailey Grange Hall at 609 S. Third Ave. in Hailey.

Gardeners can dig up their extra perennials, repot and divide indoor plants and bring empty envelopes for seeds and containers for plants.

Free seeds will be distributed. Some plant starts and herbs will be sold by local farmers, including Squash Blossom, Lookout Farms and Waterwheel Gardens. Plant starts will include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, kales, chard, eggplant, melons, basil, lettuces, culinary herbs and flowers.

Those who cannot contribute exchange items will be asked to make a cash donation to the Wood River Seed Library and to The Hunger Coalition.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the local seed library, or collection, has been relocated from the Hailey Public Library to the home of Wood River Seed Library Co-Manager Manon Gaudreau in Hailey.

“People send me emails and we have been preparing orders for pick-up,” Gaudreau said. “I had to dig into my personal seed supply because many varieties had run out, like zucchinis. But we have plenty of tomatoes, flowers, greens and herbs. We even have some ancient grains that were sent by the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance.”

Gaudreau said the Seed Library has more than 100 plant variety seeds that have been grown locally. They are harvested by volunteers and Seed Library members each fall.

“The library saves 10 percent of the seed harvest each year and keeps them for emergency situations,” she said. “This year could have been one of those emergencies.”

Gaudreau said some big seed companies are no longer selling to individuals, but instead are reserving orders for large growers.

“They usually keep a five-year supply, but they are short on their supplies. Many people have been calling us to ask if we have seeds,” she said.

Gaudreau said The Hunger Coalition received a shipment of seeds from the Snake River Seed Alliance and another organization, giving them to the Seed Library for distribution. She said she is also expecting a shipment of seeds from the Cooperative Gardens Commission, a seedbank in Chicago.

The Saturday exchange will be an outdoor tailgate event with participants going from car to car for swapping and exchanges. Participants are asked to wear masks and gloves, keep a social distance from others. Organizers urge, participants to quarantine what they get for 72 hours and wash hands after handling items.

Gaudreau is seeking volunteers to help with set-up and take-down and cleaning, and to manage the seeds before and during the event.

To get involved, call 208-720-7207 or go to grange.org/upper

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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