Seed Swap

Have seeds to donate? Free the Seeds welcomes seeds saved by local gardeners to pass on to other growers. Heirloom, open-pollinated, and non-genetically modified (non-GMO) seeds can be donated at ImagineIF library locations in Columbia Falls and Kalispell. The libraries require masks to be worn and limit visit times to 30 minutes. Or you can drop them off when you pick up your free seed bundle Saturday, March 6th, 2021 9-noon. See 2021 Fair for details.

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 Free the Seeds! fair. Drop-off locations are Kalispell, Columbia Falls, and Whitefish libraries 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:

FOR SEEDS, STARTS, SCIONS, AND CUTTINGS:

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

FOR SEEDS, PLEASE ADD:

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

What can I take?

For the 2021 seed swap we’re doing a pre-packaged giveaway bundle of seeds instead of an in-person seed swap. Seeds will be prepackaged in quantities ideal for the average garden. 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.

Thank you for sharing with others, and we look forward to seeing you at the fair!