Root deep: City launches seed library, addressing 'local hunger'

A new initiative on the eastside of Wilmington is budding to combat food deserts and reduce food insecurities many face in the county.

Isaiah Lubben started Maides Park Seed Library in hopes of impressing upon others the ease and accessibility of growing one’s own food. Lubben took his position as the recreation supervisor of Maides Park with the City of Wilmington in April. He arrived from Sampson County Parks and Recreation, where he ran a gardening program for at-risk youth. 

While there, Lubben said he learned under master gardener Joni Torres, from N.C. State University Cooperative Extension, who started a seed library. She collaborated with 86 area gardeners and built a catalog of thousands of seeds to give back to the community at large. 

As Wilmington’s first seed library grows, Lubben hopes to receive the same support. The library took root in late spring when Walmart offloaded 1,294 packets of seeds to the park for free — a donation worth $2,500. 

So far, more than a dozen have signed up for the program. Members receive a folder of information provided by the NCSU co-op extension, which features planting and rain schedules, as well as local environmental changes. Details are provided on when to plant and harvest crops throughout the seasons, how to transplant, and even suggest ideas on how to cook fresh produce; it also instructs on ways to protect and gather seeds. 

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