UBC cultivates community with seed libraries

Teacher education program sees the seeds as a community resource


By Danauca Dory

Seed libraries have taken root in UBC, growing into educational resources as seed saving becomes popular in Vancouver.

UBC has one of the few seed libraries located in Vancouver, with many students, faculty and residents using them for their own use, including personal and scholarly.

According to UBC’s website, librarians Helen Brown and Wendy Traas started the seed libraries in 2017. A year later, the library reported a 240 per cent increase in borrowing and an influx of seed donations. The vegetable and other seeds are available at two locations on the Vancouver campus.

Wendy Traas, an education librarian at UBC, said one of the main focuses for the seed gardens is for the Faculty of Education to have additional resources for outdoor education.

“We really wanted to support wellness and community connections,” Traas said.

Teacher education student Wen-Ling Liao has been using the seed library to help with her elementary school practicum. Liao believes that the seed saving will help children learn about their community impact.

“They can have this sort of exposure to be part of the community and then recognizing that their little action can have consequences, really positive consequences on the community,” Liao said.

Liao said she enjoys using the seed library and wants more people to know about the resource and its existence.

UBC seed library, accompanying literary resources. Photo by: Danauca Dory


UBC is not the only seed library in Vancouver, as the Vancouver Public Library also has a few seed libraries at some of its locations. VanDusen Botanical Garden has a seed collection for purchase.

Gillian Drake, the director of education at VanDusen Botanical Garden, believes more people are saving seeds.

“I think as people are becoming more active gardeners and more active in terms of their own personal efforts for environmental activism, I think there is an uptake in seed saving in general,” Drake said.

The UBC seed libraries are open to the public and Vancouver has 110 community gardens — including one at City Hall — with some going to waste and in need of planting.

Click here for the city’s interactive map of Vancouver community gardens.

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