Seed Swap

What is a “seed swap”?

The Free the Seeds! seed swap lets you share and receive extra seeds, starts, scions, and cuttings. What you save and share is key. You want to know that the seeds you bring home from the seed swap and plant in your garden will grow up to be the plant you expected. To have this confidence, you need open-pollinated, non-GMO seeds.

Seed swaps are a fun way to develop a network of friends interested in growing, saving, and sharing seeds. Annual seed swaps help build a community’s inventory of robust, healthy seeds that grow well under various conditions by being planted in and saved from different backyards and gardens.

Are my seeds open-pollinated, non-GMO?

Open-pollinated, non-GMO seeds grow “true to type”: the same plant will grow as each year’s new seeds are saved and replanted. Hybrid seeds will not grow true to type. Look for these phrases on the original seed packet when you think about saving seed:

Seeds to Save Single-Season Seeds
Heirloom Hybrid
Open-pollinated (OP) F1
Non-genetically modified (non-GMO) Genetically modified (GMO)

If you see any or all of the phrases in the left column above, you can save this seed and bring it to the Free the Seeds! seed swap. If you see one or more of the phrases in the right column above, you won’t be able to save and share that seed.

More about seeds to save:

Want to know even more about seed saving? Check out this seed saving guide from the Organic Seed Alliance (PDF).

What should I bring?

Seeds can be donated before the Seed and Start Fair. Drop-off locations are Kalispell, Columbia Falls, and Bigfork ImagineIF libraries, Eureka Library, Whitefish Library, Camas Organic Market in Hot Springs, and The Good Seed Company in Whitefish. Look for the box near the entrance marked “Free the Seeds”. You can also bring your saved seeds on the day of the fair.

Please label your donations with as much of the following information as possible:


  • Common name and variety
  • Latin name (Genus and species)


  • Year seeds were collected
  • Where they were grown and who grew them (aka the seed source)

What can I take?

Seeds will be prepackaged in quantities ideal for the average garden. Please take only one packet of any variety. While we would love to have everyone bring seeds to swap, our goal is that nobody will go away empty-handed, even if you don’t have seeds to contribute.

The seed swap will be held from 9am-noon in the Arts & Technology Building Rooms 144 A/B. Thank you for sharing with others, and we look forward to seeing you at the fair!