TBG Seed Library

TBG has partnered with the Toronto Seed Library (TSL) to establish its very own seed library. This seed collection is located in TBG’s Weston Family Library.

What is a seed library?
A seed library is a collection of vegetable, herb and flower seeds that you can check out and take home. Grow the seeds in your garden, and enjoy the bloom and bounty! When the plants set seed, save some and return them to the library for others to grow next year. Seed libraries are popping up all around the world as a way to preserve and share heirloom seeds. The best way to keep these plants alive is to share them.

Why are seed libraries important?
People have been saving and sharing seeds since the dawn of agriculture. Over millennia, through careful selection and stewardship, we have developed an astonishing array of vegetable and flower varieties from their native ancestors. This genetic diversity has given us the exciting flavours, colours and forms we enjoy today. Think of all the tomato varieties available, each descending from the same wild ancestor. More importantly, genetic diversity ensures a food supply that is resilient to pests, diseases and climate change.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this diversity is in jeopardy. In the past 100 years, we have lost 75 percent of our agricultural plant biodiversity. Where people used to rely on their own farms, gardens, families, friends and neighbours for seed, we now tend to purchase new seed each year. Many local varieties have disappeared as we’ve moved away from our seed-saving traditions.

How to get involved

  • Check out free seeds for your garden!
  • Donate seeds to the collection (If you’ve never saved seeds before, start with beans, peas, tomatoes and lettuce. These plants are self-pollinating, so their seeds are easy to save.)
  • Learn about seed saving – Click here for TBG library’s online guide to seed saving

Seed donations for the library should be in envelopes labeled with:

  • Common name
  • Scientific name (if you’re not sure, ask us for assistance)
  • Cultivar/Variety name
  • Year of harvest
  • Place of harvest (postal code)
  • Any story about the seeds that you’d like to tell