Coming Soon: CACC Community Seed Library

CACC is thrilled to announce that we will be constructing a seed library at our headquarters in Lake, Michigan. This seed library will support community and individual gardeners by providing affordable access to a diverse range of vegetable, herb, and companion plant seeds adapted to our growing conditions. (Buying good seed can get expensive fast, and selecting the best varieties for our region can be daunting to a new gardener.) This effort will also allow us opportunity to have a multi-generational impact by providing training and coaching to gardeners of all ages, and by encouraging family participation.

We are also excited to incorporate seed saving training into the community gardens we support. Currently, members of our organization are directly involved with managing 3 local food bank and community gardens. We also provide resources to 3 additional community and school gardens.

This new program includes a membership in the Seed Saver’s Exchange Community Seed Resource Program (CSRP), a nationwide network of seed libraries, community seed banks, and seed saving educators. The CSRP provides tools and guidance to community groups in the United States who are interested in creating seed-focused events, exchanges, libraries, and gardens. The CSRP is a collaboration between Seed Saver’s Exchange and Seed Matters, an organization that supports community seed initiatives and empowers community organizing around sustainable seed. CACC is proud to join with over 300 community groups in 41 states who have joined this program.

On a social-ecology level, we believe that local food systems are imperative to efforts to reduce oil and energy consumption, to conserve clean water, and to empower communities. Food sovereignty, the ability to control our own food supply, grants us the economic leverage we need to abandon destructive systems. The absence of food sovereignty in our communities, and the resulting reliance on the employer-paycheck-grocery store model, ensures an ample supply of laborers for oilfields, pipelines, and other destructive industrial projects. Food sovereignty programs teach people another way to put food on the table; a way that allows workers to develop their own systems of production that keep them at home with their families and communities.

Seed libraries are also essential in preserving genetic diversity. Many unique varieties can serve specific needs for small scale farmers, but will never be featured in a commercial seed catalog. An initial hurtle for the novice gardener is often an uninformed choice in commercial seed that then does poorly in a non-industrial setting. Our seed library will focus on preserving and distributing varietal genetics that thrive in several micro-climates local to our region. We plan to help new gardeners select seed that will do well in their particular garden, making for a positive first-time experience. With a volunteer base of over 150 people from across the state of Michigan, we feel we have a unique opportunity to preserve seed varieties that are unique to our bioregion. Stay tuned for more info.

Interested in getting involved or donating seed? Call the office at 989.544.3318
or email here, and be sure to include “CACC Seed Library” in the subject line

Donate to CACC’s Seed Library Campaign, help us gain an extra $400 in funding!

Gladwin, MI Community Garden
Gladwin, MI Community Garden

We are racing to raise $600 for our NEW Seed Library initiative! Campaign begins November 15th, 2016 at 12:00, and ends December 15th. Help us empower Michigan gardeners and protect our planet by donating to our campaign!

We are VERY excited to share this project with you. The seed library will allow gardeners and community gardens in Michigan to “borrow” heirloom and open pollinated seeds to plant in the spring, and to return seeds for future gardeners in the fall.

Food and seed sovereignty are key to reducing energy consumption, water contamination, soil biome loss, and emissions. We hope you will consider supporting and sharing our campaign, and of course, join us as a seed library member this spring!

Support our campaign here:

Sustainable Garden and Kitchen – Mulch Tips from Shady Grove Farm

by Randy Buchler

At Shady Grove Farm we rebuilt our old strawberry patch and planted new plants. I researched environmentally friendly ground cover for weed suppression, but didn’t find anything that met my picky requirements. So, I brainstormed…finally figuring out that if we cut the unopened end of our 3 ply empty chicken feed bags and then slice up the sides, it would create a large piece of ground cover that we could cover the mounds with and then plant the berry plants in holes that we cut in the paper.

The second project involved using pallets (cut in half-ish) to “fence in” our newer strawberry patch so I could stretch the bird netting from the greenhouse ribbon board to cover them. You will also notice the use of bale twine.

Cutting the 3 ply bags open makes it possible to rid them of the strings and unfold them to double the space they cover. Working out really well so far.

The failure of commercial availability of environmentally friendly materials sometimes leads us to a better alternative, and this is a perfect example of that.  Not just environmentally friendly and toxic free, but includes the upcycling of a material that is on the farm as a byproduct of feeding organic feed.

The absence of environmentally sound farming products, like a good toxic/chemical free ground cover/weed suppressant, also promotes and encourages creativity through brain storming a wide array of ideas!

Shady Grove Farm U.P. is a small, diversified family farm located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The farm is Certified Naturally Grown, utilizes permaculture practices, adheres to strict and environmentally sound farming practices/standards, and became environmentally verified through the Michigan Department of Ag and Rural Development’s MAEAP (Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program) in 2012.  One of the things Shady Grove Farm strives to do is to maintain a “zero tolerance” to toxins or contaminants that may compromise the quality of food and farm products, as well as the soil and environment.  Because of these high standards, often times it is hard to find commercial products that fit into our vision.  This, in turn, forces us to get creative. But, that is what helps us to keep the integrity in farming!

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