Seeds on loan to community at Brock Library

The list of items you can borrow from the Brock University Library is growing.

On Tuesday, April 19, the James A. Gibson Library will open the Brock University Seed Library to the community.

The initiative, which allows people to “borrow” seeds for planting, was the brainchild of Brock Master of Sustainability candidates Alexandra Cotrufo and Madison Lepp.

When the pair learned about WWF-Canada’s Go Wild School Grants, they decided to apply in hopes of bringing their vision for a community seed library to life.

The WWF-Canada Go Wild School Grant program funds projects that are focused on protecting or restoring nature in schools and on campuses. While most recipients receive grant amounts of $1,000, Cotrufo and Lepp were fortunate to receive $2,500 to plan, build and execute their project.

A one-year trial collaboration between the Brock University Project Charter and the Brock University Library, the seed library will offer free seeds to community members to “borrow” and plant during the spring and summer seasons.

Four masked individuals stand behind a table that is filled with plastic containers and signs for a seed library.

Brock Library Access Services Supervisor Alicia Floyd and Senior Loan Services Assistant/Reference Assistant Brian Scott help Master of Sustainability candidates Madison Lepp and Alexandra Cotrufo to ready for the launch of the Brock University Seed Library.

The program functions like a library as participants are asked to later return a new batch of seeds from their gardens.

“The Brock Library is excited about this partnership. It’s a natural fit with the borrowing services we already support,” said Andrew Colgoni, Associate University Librarian, Student Success.
“Seed libraries have been growing in popularity, particularly among public libraries, including many in the Niagara region. We’re pleased to be able to make it easy for the campus community to access a rich catalogue of seeds through our ‘Ask Us’ desk in James A. Gibson Library.”

Seed libraries are an effective mechanism for collecting and distributing a variety of rare, endangered, native and/or culturally important seeds. They aim to protect genetic diversity in our food system and promote public access to seeds.

“Seed libraries help create a culture of sharing and abundance within a community while preserving seed lineages, stewarding a region’s biodiversity and supporting those who are new to gardening,” said Amanda Smits, Centre Administrator in Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre. “We could not be more proud of both Alexandra and Madison for spearheading this exciting new initiative.”

Significant threats to pollinator populations and the ecosystems that depend on these pollinators have been noted around the world. Seed libraries contribute to increasing native and endangered plant species while supporting pollinator populations.

This initiative will aid Brock and the greater community to grow local plants in the hopes of conserving healthy ecosystems, encouraging growth and fostering community engagement.

All visitors are reminded that as part of Brock’s COVID-19 vaccine policy, a vaccine mandate is in effect for all individuals involved in any in-person activities on campus. In addition to showing proof of vaccination, visitors will be required to complete the Brock Safety screening tool and show confirmation at the screening desk.

To learn more about the seed library and how to participate, please visit

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