Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Seed libraries sprout in SW Montana

Carah Ronan plants flowers at Rodi Farm in Laurel
Sarah Brown
Carah Ronan plants flowers at Rodi Farm in Laurel

It’s officially spring. To kick off the season, YPR’s Orlinda Worthington invites us to a garden party.

Many libraries around the state are hosting garden parties this Saturday.

The events kickstart their seed exchange programs - a place where community members can get seeds for free and learn how to make their gardens grow.

Gavin Woltjer, is the Executive Director of the Billings Public Library. He opens drawers full of vegetable and flower seeds found in cabinets on the second floor of the library.

The library partners with Yellowstone County Master Gardeners, the Audubon society and other experts to provide education along with the seeds.

“These programs are open and free to the public. So you can, change out seeds, get new seeds, talk to different people about, Hey, well, how was your garden last year? That type of stuff,” Woltjer said.

The Belgrade library is also hosting a garden party Saturday, which will include a house plant exchange, crafts, and talks by MSU extension.

Seed libraries nationwide are helping people learn to grow food and respond proactively to climate change. Woltjer sees another benefit.

“I think another element is that some people are growing things very intentionally for the pollinators. And I think that is such an important aspect because that's just the circle. You know, if we can continue to grow and these pollinators continue doing their stuff, We continue to have great food,” Woltjer said.

And occasionally, that great food comes back around to the library.

“We have gotten vegetables from people from their gardens. These seeds came from the library. We wanted to give back to the library. And we've had some wonderful tomatoes, cucumbers, things like that,” Woltjer said.

Last year, Billings’ library gave out over 5,000 seed packets… Belgrade handed out 1200. Both are planning for more this year.

In Billings, I’m Orlinda Worthington

To find a seed exchange near you, check with your local library.

Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.