The grant that the children at Victoria West Elementary School received from NSG in 2021/2022 has impacted our school and community in many ways. The grant allowed us to build and install the very successful Vic West Little Free Seed Library beside our new children’s garden. The seed library is located along a busy pedestrian and cyclist transportation pathway which is part of Victoria’s Greenways Plan. This purposeful location broadens the exposure, and therefore, use of the library beyond the school community.
Since the beginning, the library has provided a rich learning opportunity to educate our students about food literacy as well as connect our school to the Vic West community in an authentic and meaningful way. The students learned the importance of saving and sharing seeds to protect food security and sustain a healthy environment. Their garden and seed library are the active ways they contribute to those valuable goals.
The student’s first action was to imagine what the library should look like. The design of the seed box was inspired by our students’ drawings, and then built and installed by one of our parents. Grant funds were used for building supplies and as an honorarium for our parent’s expertise and time.
Once installed, the seed library has been used as a powerful tool to teach students in a hands-on way about the life cycle of plants from seed to seed: germinating, planting, harvesting, saving, and cleaning the seeds for next year’s harvest, as well as packaging seeds in envelopes to put in the library. These small envelopes were purchased through grant funds.
Additionally, the seed library has fostered a gifting economy by giving back to the community and making food accessible to those who may not have the financial ability to purchase seeds. The students added their signed artwork to the envelopes before adding their precious seeds. They took pride in creating their gifts for the community! The library also encourages others to grow their own food, save seeds, and share some with the library as a way to create food sustainably and build a healthy community.
Our seed library would not have been built without the support from NSG. We are deeply grateful for the grant we received and the impact it has made on our students and the local community. Thank you NSG!