From little things…

Castlemaine Seed Library coordinator Eliza-Jane Gilchrist (at front) with some of the keen crew of seed library volunteers. Photo: Eve Lamb

Five years after the seed of an idea was planted, Castlemaine’s innovative seed library has blossomed and this month is celebrating its fifth birthday by launching a new website.

“If you haven’t come across it yet, the Castlemaine Seed Library is a wonderful community resource,” coordinator Eliza-Jane Gilchrist says.

“People donate seeds, a group of volunteers package them up and then they’re made available, on a board in the library, to anyone to take for free.”

It all means that a wide range of vegetable, herb and flower seeds, which do well in the local climate, are readily available for gardeners from experienced green thumbs to complete newbies to try out in their own patch and then make a ‘return’ by donating seeds they’ve grown themselves back to the library.

Eliza-Jane says the seed library has ‘loaned’ out 6196 packets of seeds since it began and now has at least 500 borrowers, with that number growing during the lockdowns of the past two years.

“We got a community grant from Mount Alexander Shire last year to help us to do a couple of things to strengthen the organisation,” she says.

“One was to make a website, which former coordinator Dayna Morrissey has taken on.

“This is just coming online now at to coincide with our fifth birthday.”

Further demonstrating the concept’s success, when the seed library’s enthusiastic band of volunteers held a seedling stall at the Wesley Hill Market the Saturday before last they raised a tidy sum toward running costs for the next two years.

In fact the seedling stall went so well, committee members say they’re now looking forward to also contributing seedlings to The Castlemaine Hub’s upcoming Spring Garden Fete fundraiser set for Saturday October 23.

Seed library volunteers like Jacquie Carr say there’s much to love about the seed library, particularly naming the need to be mindful of food security among these.

“The thing I enjoy most is fact that people can actually borrow seed for free and we’re saving individuals’ heritage seeds that no agricultural corporation can own,” she says.

Fellow seed library volunteer Jane Mallick says more volunteers are always welcome as the seed library looks forward to flourishing far into the future.

“Don’t worry, we’ll be around a lot longer,” she says.