The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact us

Loading Recent Classifieds...

CSUN Seed Library offers the community free seeds to plant

Citrus fruit trees are the most prominent throughout the CSUN campus, shown in the G.A.R.D.E.N in Northridge, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

What used to be an old library catalog is now organized storage for seeds. Located inside the Sustainability Center at CSUN, the Seed Library is home to over a dozen crops, herbs and flower seeds.

The Seed Library is a community resource that collects, stores and shares free seeds to students, staff and faculty. Focused on addressing food insecurity, it also encourages sowing, otherwise known as the process of planting seeds. Today, the Seed Library continues to expand.

Although the Seed Library’s cabinet was recently donated in 2023, the CSUN Institute for Sustainability is experienced in storing and saving seeds.

“We got the cabinet just last year, so this was actually donated back to CSUN,” said Jesse Woltal, a California Climate Action Corps fellow at the Institute for Sustainability. “It used to be an old library catalog and it was sitting in somebody’s garage. They gave it back and now we’re putting it to use… [but] I can say we’ve been saving seeds and using them informally for a long time.”

The seeds from the library are accessible to the general public as well.

“We’re happy to have neighbors who live in the community, staff, faculty, students, whatever relation or no relation you may have to CSUN,” Woltal said. “It’s really just about getting access to fresh food, gardening [and] native plants.”

Currently, the Seed Library offers a list of seed options. Seed packets include cucumber, carrot, marigold, milkweed, California poppy, and many others.

Although CSUN does not offer personal garden beds for the community to plant seeds, plans for expansion at the G.A.R.D.E.N. are underway. Garden beds have slowly been added to the site, allowing students to have personal patches of land to plant seeds in.

For now, seeds are intended to be taken home.

“We deliver most of our food to the CSUN Food Pantry,” Woltal explained. “Slowly, we’re starting to put more [garden beds] up there that students will be able to take on their own and have a small space for growing on campus. But as for right now, it’s mostly take home and grow in a pot, window box, garden, if you have one.”

The G.A.R.D.E.N. is a half-acre garden site at CSUN that the Institute for Sustainability manages. Currently, it grows a variety of seasonal vegetables and herbs from the Seed Library. Grown produce is donated every Wednesday to the CSUN Food and Pop-Up Produce Pantry.

Today, inventory from the Seed Library is typically gathered from various sources.

“So, there’s a lot of donated food seeds like edible seeds in there, and then, there’s also what we’ve grown and what other people have grown,” Woltal said.

Given the relatively new Seed Library, seed packet requests remain low.

“Our numbers [for seed requests] are really low,” said Woltal. “We did have someone last week request [seeds], and two last month, but mostly, it’s been us providing to other events and trying to get the word out that way.”

Students can request seeds by emailing the Sustainability Center, open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Despite low numbers, the Seed Library is working to expand the program.

“Right now, we’re just starting a partnership with a Sustainability 401 class, they’re going to try to help us expand the program,” said Woltal. “Overall, it’s a great thing for making the process full circle for people. So, collecting seeds and saving them properly, it’s just another educational piece but also I think it gives us the opportunity to expand beyond campus.”

More to Discover