Who can forget the empty shelves at grocery stores during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020?
A North Texas gardener took it upon herself to start a non-profit to help ensure everyone has access to fresh fruits and vegetables year-round, by growing them themselves.
Collin County master gardener Jennifer Rauschmayer is passionate about organic, healthy eating.
She grows much of her family’s food in their backyard.
When the pandemic hit, an idea blossomed.
“Everything was gone at the grocery store,” she recalled. “The only things left were unhealthy and things I wouldn’t want my family eating. We felt fortunate because we grow our own food and we thought: Why shouldn’t everyone have that ability?”
The Little Seed Library was born.
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Rauschmayer enlisted her husband and daughter’s help to build and paint tiny wooden houses to be placed on trees, inspired by the popular book-sharing movement in neighborhoods across the country.
“We put dragonflies on there,” she said. “My mom was a gardener and that’s in her memory as well.”
Only these “libraries” are stocked with seasonal fruit, veggie and pollinator plant seeds for anyone to take.
The first one was placed in their Plano neighborhood. The goal is to build and install Little Seed Libraries in more cities and neighborhoods. Anyone interested in requesting a Little Seed Library is encouraged to contact the organization.
Those visiting a library are encouraged to take one seed packet per variety and provide your contact information so Rauschmayer can follow up with any gardening questions.
“Right now, it’s a great time to plant lettuce, radishes and beets,” said Rauschmayer. “In the summer, we have lots of seeds for squash.”
The Little Seed Library then became a non-profit and local seed companies Fedco and Baker Creek Heirloom donated seeds.
The organization has delivered 18 Little Seed Libraries to 10 states, including Arizona, Washington and Oregon.
Rauschmayer now hopes to partner with a local food pantry to hand out seeds and teach people how they too can grow their own food at home.
Another goal is to expand to food deserts, areas lacking fresh produce.
“Our goal is simply to get people excited about growing their own food and having access to growing their food,” she said. “This is huge. This is really, really exciting. I can’t wait for more people to get involved.”
The Little Seed Library is looking for volunteers with woodworking skills to help build more houses.
The group welcomes monetary donations as well as donations of seeds.
For more information, click here.