Jessica Mannon – True to Seed Seed Library
September 1, 2016
Jessica Mannon manages the “True to Seed – Seed Sharing Library” housed at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. She is a volunteer extraordinaire who recognized a need and opportunity to grow an existing program into a treasured community resource.
What inspired you to start the seed sharing program?
Several happenings inspired me to develop True to Seed – Seed Sharing Library. The seed library was originally started about four years ago by Doug Fagerness. It was a small unofficial program, but he was able to “share” seeds with several people. As we were friends, he confided his need to retire from his responsibilities. I saw an opportunity to expand the seed library, give it a name, and to build on its purpose.
About the same time, I watched the movie “Open Sesame” that I borrowed from the Inland NW Food Network. It was eye opening and my passion for future food security started to grow. Sometime after, recognizing my passion,Teri McKenzie graciously invited me along to a meeting with Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance co-founders Bill McDorman and Belle Starr. Meeting them and hearing their passion for saving seeds, seed diversity and being seed stewards further opened my awareness. It lit a fire under me, and I have been on a mission to learn and share the importance of all aspects of seeds in our world.
What has been the public response to the seed program? How has it grown from when you first started it?
I have been overwhelmed with the response about the seed library from our community!! It has been super positive! This year, we checked out over 500 packets of seeds! We have had several people offer to volunteer to help with the library. We have had several local seed donations. Also, the seed library was offered a fiscal sponsorship from Kootenai Environmental Alliance enabling us to obtain more seed donations and to apply for grants.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
It is very rewarding when I know I have spread my passion of sustainability and my love of gardening to another person. Watching our community come together and become more aware of the importance of food security and knowing I played a small part of that gives me satisfaction.
What changes have you seen over the years in the local food scene?
I have really seen our community come together in support for the local food scene. More restaurants are using “local produce”, more farmers are encouraged to start their own businesses, many people shop at the farmers market, and more people are empowered to grow their own food.
When you aren’t busy with True to Seed, what kinds of things do you like to do?
I love to grow food! I spend a lot of my time volunteering at Community Roots Gathering Garden. I also have a large garden that I work in. I spend as much time as I can with my husband and thirteen year old son; camping, hiking, hunting, foraging and anything in the woods.