Interested in hosting a seed interchange or seed swap? This guide will help you organize your swap while educating people about the basics of seed saving and the structure of your seed library, if you have one.
The intention at Richmond Grows is to support other communities in having seed swaps and libraries. We now co-host our seed swap with BASIL (Bay Area Seed Interchange Library in Berkeley) along with several other local seed libraries. BASIL has been hosting a seed swap for over 15 years with an attendance of over 150 people, potluck and live music. The signage you need may be scaled to the size of your event and venue. Take it. Tweak it. Make it you own. If you come up with some cool ideas, please do let us know as we widely share our resources with others. Suggestions or new material can me emailed to RichmondGrows@gmail.com.
Organizing a Swap
1. Promote event 2. Create table signs 3. Create educational posters 4. Get your volunteers for set up 5. Day of the event - to dos 6. Clean up - organize volunteers Here's our To Do list for organizing a seed swap. Make sure you have lots of envelopes for folks to write info on. We have a stamp for Richmond Grows that we use and pre-stamp hundreds of envelopes before the event to encourage people to write quality information on the seeds they take with them. We use business envelopes and seal them and cut them in half. (Sometimes you can get these donated from companies who are going out of business or changing addresses or from printer errors.) If you have a web presence or email folks about the event, you may also want to have them be able download labels so they can bring in well labeled seeds to share or they can have pre-printed blank envelopes to take seeds.
We organized our tables, as well as our library, by plant families. Here are the signs that we use at our swaps. Everything is color coordinated to match with the organization of our library. For example, super easy seeds have green labels, easy is blue and difficult is yellow. "Borrower Beware" signs are orange.
Make sure folks understand that this is not just a taking event and that the intention of the swap includes creating local resilience around food and seeds. Thing you can do to promote this: 1. Start the swap by explaining that seeds are labeled by seed saving level and that you are encouraging everyone to start with the "super easy" plants. 2. Have plenty of "super easy" seed saving brochures available. Have people pass them out as folks enter the event or have them on the table. Here are the English and Spanish (in process of being re-edited) super easy brochures. Feel free to put your own contact info on the brochures, but please leave the piece about "Create a library" and our URL. 3. Have people who are seed savers wear a badge that says "Ask me about seed saving." Let folks know in the beginning of the event that there are folks who can answer questions about seed saving. If you have a seed lending library, have folks who volunteer at the library have badges too so folks can learn about the library. 4. Have a class at or before the swap about seed saving. 5. Every 20-30 minutes remind folks about the super easy plants and encourage them to ask someone with a badge about seed saving. If you have a library and it's in the same building give tours at regular intervals throughout your swap. Have fun!