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Susie Jenkins encourages gardeners to use free seeds to supplement food supplies

COURTESY PHOTO - Susie Jenkins has vegetable, flower and herb seeds available free of charge.Despite the current crisis, Mother Nature has made it abundantly clear that summer is on its way, and that means it's time to start planting.

Susie Jenkins at the Sandy Seed Library wants to remind people that while the library isn't open to the public, the seed collection is open for requests.

"Right now, is one of our prime growing seasons," Jenkins said. "I was concerned with the library closure that that service would be inaccessible."

At the beginning of the closure, Jenkins offered seeds by request through the mail. Now, she's able to include them with people's curbside pickup at the library.

"The silver lining with the closure and the virus is that a lot of people are learning about the seed library through media," Jenkins said. "It's been very successful."

The library collection consists of a large variety of vegetable seeds, seeds for flowers that attract pollinators, and a small selection of herbs, all of which are non-GMO and nonhybrid seeds.

"In addition to free garden seeds, we normally offer seven monthly gardening and seed saving classes taught by Clackamas County Master Gardeners," Jenkins said. "Unfortunately, we have had to cancel our classes this summer due to the virus.

"Since its beginning in 2017, we have watched our seed library program evolve to include more and more family gardeners and farmers whose skills keep improving. All of our seeds have been donated by selected seed growers and local folks who have learned how to skillfully save their own garden seeds," she said. "We focus on regionally adapted, non-GMO, and open-pollinated heirloom vegetable seeds. We also like to support pollinators with flower seeds such as milkweed."

Besides the timing of the library's availability and the fact that gardening gives people an additional activity to do at home, Jenkins said the seed library is a resource for people concerned about food insecurity.

"For the most vulnerable people right now who are financially impacted by the crisis, here's an opportunity for them to augment their food supply," Jenkins said.

There is no cost to benefit from the seed library. If you're interested in obtaining seeds, email Susie Jenkins at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and she will send you instructions to sign up. Let Jenkins also know what plants you'd like to grow this season in your initial email to make assembly of your order more efficient.

People also can contact Jenkins about donating seeds they've harvested and saved.

"I'm really excited and happy the library is doing curbside pickup and that we're able to get seeds out to the people," Jenkins said. "The Sandy Seed Library is a project committed to increasing the capacity of our community to feed itself by means of education that fosters community resilience, self-reliance and a culture of sharing."

PMG FILE PHOTO - Seeds can now by ordered and picked up curbside at the Sandy Public Library. How to order:

Curbside pickup is available for both books and seeds. To schedule a time for pickup, follow these steps:

• Call the library at 503-668-5537 between 10 a.m.-noon to schedule a pickup time. Pickup will be from 1-4 p.m.; there will be a limited number of spots available every 15 minutes.

• Arrive at the library during your scheduled time and call from your vehicle. Staff will ask for the name of the cardholder and for the library card number. Staff then will take the materials and place them on a table outside on the west side of the building.

• Out of concern for staff safety and public health, wait until staff are back inside the building before exiting your vehicle to retrieve your materials.

Staff members also recommend that people "be courteous of your fellow library users, and only checkout items a few times per month so that everyone gets a chance to checkout materials."

Those with library cards can access resources and place holds online. Those interested in obtaining a library card also can complete that process online.

If you place your holds before 6 a.m., it may be possible to pick them up the same day depending on how many people have scheduled an appointment.

Make sure the items you place on hold are checked in at the Sandy Library by checking online, or you can call the library with questions at 503-668-5537.


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