El Cajon Library Seed Exchange Hopes to Cultivate a Sense of Community


These seeds have a dual purpose.

A new “seed library” at the El Cajon branch of the San Diego County Library will allow local gardeners to swap unused seeds. Besides putting seeds that might potentially go to waste to good use, librarian Jenne Bergstrom hopes the program will help cultivate a sense of community among participants.

“A lot of what we provide at the library is a place for people to connect and accomplish things they want to in their lives,” said Bergstrom. “We provide the information and the connections people need to get to know each other and be more involved in their community.”

The library is partnering with the Hawaii-based organization, Eating in Public, to bring the group’s seed-sharing stations to the mainland.

“A friend of mine sent me a link to this cool thing they were doing in Hawaii and I just wrote to them and basically asked, ‘hey can we do that here?’”

The organization sent Bergstrom a starter kit and instructions on running a seed-swapping program.

“Gardening is one of the top five things people research at our library,” she said. “People have been taking flyers and seem really excited by the program.”

The library is unveiling the new seed library on Saturday, Nov. 17 with a program beginning at 2 p.m. San Diego County Master Gardener Association’s Joyce Gemmell will discuss growing flowers and vegetables from seeds. People will also be able to meet fellow gardeners and trade seeds.

“I got a call Wednesday from the San Diego Horticultural society,” Bergstrom said. “They used to do a lot of seed and plant trading in the past and they were really exciting to find a new place to do that.”

Seed donations can either be dropped off in person or mailed to the El Cajon Library, 201 East Douglas Ave., El Cajon, CA, 92020.

Word has been spreading quickly and they have already received seed donations from as far away as Minnesota.

“People really like the concept of not letting seeds go to waste,” said Bergstrom. “Gardeners just want to share.”

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact