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Community Seed Bank

Building community one seed at a time!

Photo of Charlie Costello
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For the past 22 months we have watched and learned about how to build community with our community seed bank. As time progresses, more and more people light up when they think of seeds. Just today, an elderly couple was visiting the seed bank, all of us practicing social distancing. I  left a flat of sixteen kale plants as a remedy for COVID with a sign on the chalk board, "Free Kale" and they lasted about a day. In the long term, growing your own food if you can or have the room and not having to rely on a store for your basic needs is a good thing. I offered them a tomato plant but they said, "No, our daughter wants seeds for her kids who are home right now, because she wants them to start their own plants and learn about the magic of seeds." 

There have been many instances over the past month or two in particular where people are looking closer, taking some seeds, thanking us, talking, being inspired, being thankful and being part of the community in a more present way. This only inspires me to continue to share and try to inspire a generation of urban farmers or a would be city person to grow kale in a pot on their deck. 

As we are sheltering in place in Berkeley, I see more people walking outside, inspired by nature, the open space and fresh air to take a a closer look at it all. More and more of us are realizing we are all connected and in order to get through this and to continue to make changes for the better, we have to learn to be part of a bigger world. 

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Did this resource motivate you to change your behaviors?

  • Yes

In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?

I changed my behavior by talking to everyone that came by the seed a distance of more and more people on their walks take a look at this community center of sorts.

Did you share this information with your network?

  • Yes

In what ways did you share this information?

We host a tomato tasting every year and for the past two years have been doing more demonstrations about seed saving, and starting your own plants. 

Where are you getting information around COVID-19?

  • News: Digital
  • News: Radio
  • WHO (World Health Organization)

What information do you feel you are missing about COVID-19?

How it spreads and when there will be more testing kits to test those that may be carriers.

What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?

Although they say that young people are "not really" in danger, they are an important audience to educate because they congregate in large groups and are still doing so despite warnings of social distancing. 

What is your current profession?

Communications Director for Operating Engineers Local 3. I am also a seed, soil and climate activist

In what city are you located?

Berkeley, CA

In what country are you located?



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