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Aiming to expand access to crops and educate the public, the five branch locations in the Santa Maria Public Library system have instituted a program allowing patrons to borrow seeds to grow vegetables, spices and flowers.

The program — which is supported by a grant from the Altrusa International Foundation of Santa Maria — allows patrons to the self-service seed stations to take up to three packets of seeds home to plant and grow and, then, return seeds to the library to share with other community members.

If patrons are unable to return seeds, donations of packets of commercially grown, open-pollinated seeds that are non-GMO and non-hybrid will be requested to keep the libraries stocked.

A binder of instructional information on each seed offered will be available for patrons to read or photocopy and take home.

Seeds are available to borrow at branch libraries in Cuyama, Guadalupe, Los Alamos and Orcutt, and at the main library in Santa Maria.

Anyone with questions is asked to contact the Santa Maria Public Library’s information desk at 805-925-0994, ext. 8562.

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