For the past several years seed libraries have been popping up all over the country, yet they haven't gotten much press. Lately however, they are starting to make headlines because regulators seem to take issue with them.
In this recent article, the writer tells of one Pennsylvania library that was ordered to cease distributing home-saved seed patrons brought in unless each lot was tested first. The library must pay a fee for each test, and provide 400 seeds of each lot to the testing facility- both requirements were impossible for the library to meet. Without meeting these requirements, the only option the Department of Agriculture allowed the library was to offer store-bought seed, which has already passed inspection.
The library decided to comply with the order, which can be viewed here.
Afterwards, the Chief of Maryland's Turf and Seed Section decided to follow suit, and informed the Master Gardeners they would enforce rules similar to Pennsylvania. No news has surfaced yet, as this order was given on August 18th.
This begs the question, what could be the impetus for this sudden interest in community-based seed saving initiatives?