New Leominster Public Library program sows seeds of a healthy diet
LEOMINSTER — Local librarians are branching out this summer into new programs they hope will promote gardening and healthy eating in the community.
The Leominster Public Library will be officially opening its new seed library program this week, which Library Director Sondra Murphy said is intended to inspire first-time gardeners and teach food-literacy.
“It’s been a rising trend in libraries,” she said. “I thought it would be fascinating that a library could be a place where, not only do we loan out books, magazines, and DVDs, but we also have seeds.”
Unlike the rest of the library’s materials, patrons won’t have to bring back their seeds after three weeks.
A Seed Library holding various types of seedS sits inside the Leominster Public Library on Monday.
Local residents only need to fill out a short form and tell library staff what they’re taking in order to participate and no library card is required.
A daily limit of two seed packets per person will be implemented, however, Murphy said the new program will run mainly through the honor system.
“I’m not going to be the seed police. I hope people will respect it and not drain it so there isn’t any for the next person,” she said.
Seeds will be stored in the drawers of a re-purposed card catalog organizer in the library’s periodicals section on the first floor. Available seeds will include corn, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, beans, squash, zucchini, various herbs and a variety of flowers.
The majority of the seeds were donated by the Friends of the Leominster Public Library and local farms, but Murphy said she hopes the program will be sustained in the future by the seeds produced by the plants grown by participants.
Also falling under the library’s new botanical focus is a salsa garden that has been planted outside the children’s room. The small crop of salsa ingredients, including tomato, onion, cilantro, and tomatillo plants, Murphy said, will provide the library’s younger visitors with an introduction to gardening.
The Salsa Garden outside Leominster Public Library on Monday. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JEFF PORTER
Vegetables grown in the garden will be harvested this summer for a salsa making party open to children ages four and up in August.
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