A soft opening was held Thursday for the Soldotna Seed Library now in a new location at The Goods + Sustainable Grocery.
The seed library, which has been hosted at the Soldotna Public Library since its founding in 2022, will now be maintained by the Kenai Peninsula Local Food Connection and the Goods’ Willow King. It was first started by Lora Hagelund, information provided by the connection says.
The library is housed in a donated library card catalog — drawers filled with packets of seeds organized alphabetically. During the soft opening, people could be seen perusing the offerings and making tough choices — like which variant of zucchini they should try out in their garden.
Each person can take five packets of seeds from the library — with a form to fill out indicating which varieties are being drawn from.
Some seeds were donated by local gardeners — locally grown and harvested — others were purchased with financial donations from the Soldotna Saturday Farmer’s Market, the Central Peninsula Garden Club and the Soldotna Library Friends.
Jeanette Pedginski, one of the volunteers from the local food connection, said one of the most time-intensive elements of getting the library reopened was packaging up all the seeds — counting them, sealing them in envelopes and affixing simple instructions for their care.
Around 100 varieties were represented at the soft opening, but Pedginski said they have even more to add, like locally grown bok choy recently donated but not yet sorted into packets.
A local seed library, according to the information provided, is important for promoting genetic diversity and for encouraging the products to grow better acclimated to the Kenai Peninsula. That’s why people who take seeds are encouraged to donate seeds from the plants that they grow.
“The long-term goal of the Soldotna Seed Library is to provide a space for growers to share local seeds in order to preserve the varieties that are best suited for Central Kenai Peninsula growing conditions and micro-climates,” the group wrote. “With each generation of seeds grown and shared, our food system becomes more secure and sustainable.”
Pedginski says the library has plenty of room to grow — with it certainly seeing an increase in use in the coming months as weather warms. She said there could be more information or examples provided for people new to growing, for example.
She pointed to the origins of the library as “a passion of one person,” now coalesced into “a real positive thing” for the broader community.
For those interested in diving into gardening and growing on the Kenai Peninsula, Pedginski recommended visiting the local office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service on Kalifornsky Beach Road — which she said is “probably the best way to start” because of the quantity of information they can make available — or checking out the Central Peninsula Garden Club at cenpengardenclub.org.
The seed library can be visited any time during The Goods business hours — 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Seeds can be taken from the library, financial donations can be made, and seeds can be submitted — both locally grown and commercially purchased.
For more information find “Kenai Local Food Connection” on Facebook.