The Oberlin Seed Bank

The Oberlin Seed Banking Project is a local, grassroots initiative generated from a network of farmers, gardeners and visionaries with the hope of spreading gardening material and knowledge to the broader Oberlin community. Currently, the Project has two locations: The Oberlin Public Library and Oberlin Community Services.

Use and donate seeds

You can support your Oberlin Seed Bank by donating seeds or using these seeds for your own garden. This contributes to Oberlin food sovereignty and independence, helps to expand access to fresh produce and brings you into a vibrant community network.

The seeds at the Oberlin Seed Bank are free. You can see an online catalog of seeds at The Oberlin Seed Banking Project website, then come and pick up your seeds at OPL or OCS. You can check out up to three seed packets at each site; simply fill out a checkout form. The seed banks run workshops in the spring about seed starting and in the fall about seed saving. We encourage you to attend a workshop, save some of the seeds from your garden and donate them to the seed bank. That way, we can be a revolving, community-supported seed bank.

Why save seeds?

We are on the verge of losing most of the agricultural diversity it took humankind 10,000 years to create. As late as 1900, food for the planet’s hungry was provided by as many as 1,500 different plants, each further represented by thousands of different cultivated varieties. Today, over 90% of the world’s nutrition is provided by 30 different plants and only four (wheat, rice, corn and soybeans) provide 75% of the calories consumed by humans. Where once diverse strains strengthened each local ecosystem, currently a handful of “green revolution”, superhybrid varieties “mono-cropping” farms and gardens worldwide. Because diseases or pests eventually attack individual varieties, the strength of any ecosystem is a function of its diversity.

how to save seeds

Seed saving is relatively easy. Please see the Oberlin Seed Bank "How to Save Seeds" page for information.

Learn more at The Oberlin Seed Banking Project. Pick up your seeds at Oberlin Community Services or the Oberlin Public Library!