Starting a Seed Circle Swap

Seed circle swaps are an easy way to start a seed swap in a community that does not currently have one. Seed circle swaps are a great way to source seeds. They are different from traditional seed swaps because they don’t require a venue. They can be small in size, making them easy to manage by one person. They are different from round robin seed swaps because instead of receiving a box of random seeds, participants receive seeds they specifically requested.

To start a seed circle swap, form a dedicated group of any size. Get everyone’s contact information and their seed wish list. Compile the seed wishes and share them with the group. Ask for volunteers to grow varieties from the list. Ask who wants to receive seeds from each of the varieties grown. Fill requests according to who is growing. Don’t let people who are sitting out this season take seeds before people who are growing this season.

Maintain a detailed information list for the group so you can coordinate the growing, saving and swapping of seeds.

If swappers feel supported, the swap will be more successful. Send the growers reminders on important dates like when to start their seeds indoors, when to start hardening off their seedlings, when to transplant them outside, etc. Warn growers of upcoming frosts or freezes which may require them to cover or protect their plants.

At harvest, send a reminder to the growers that their seeds are spoken for, and they should save them. Send them seed saving tips as well as contact information for those to whom they should send their seeds. Encourage growers to send not only their seeds but also tips and tricks for growing their varieties to their fellow swappers.

Once you get the hang of smaller seed swaps, you may decide to organize a traditional seed swap at a local venue or even a seed library. Do you run a seed swap, big or small? Let me know in the comments.

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