Neighborly seed sharing creates conflict with Iowa agriculture laws

Posted: Monday, December 29, 2014 12:04 pm | Updated: 12:06 pm, Mon Dec 29, 2014.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — For thousands of years, people have exchanged seeds to grow terrific tomatoes or produce the perfect potato, but a new effort to loan and borrow seeds has created a conflict between well-meaning gardeners and state agriculture officials who feel obligated to enforce laws restricting the practice.
Seed exchanges have sprouted up in about 300 locations around the country, most often in libraries, where gardeners can exchange self-pollinating seeds rather than buy standard, hybrid seeds. In spots like Duluth, Minn., the conflict with agriculture departments has surprised gardeners and library officials, who established exchanges to meet a growing interest in locally grown food and preserving certain varieties, never thinking to examine the intricacies of state seed laws.
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