Beginning Tuesday, March 1, Richland County will offer residents free seeds to kick-start their home and community gardens for spring, thanks to a new partnership and a grant from Dominion Energy.
Residents visiting Richland Library Eastover, 608 Main St., Eastover, can select up to four packets of seeds per household per visit. For a list of available seed varieties and recommended planting dates, visit www.richlandcountysc.gov/rswcd.
The seed giveaway is made possible by a partnership between the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District’s (RSWCD) Seed Sanctuary and Richland Library, with some funding provided by a $5,000 Environmental Education and Stewardship Grant from Dominion.
“Richland Library Eastover is thrilled to partner with RSWCD and increase equitable access to resources in our community,” said Kimberly Jones, manager of Richland Library Eastover. “The Seed Sanctuary program will allow residents in our community to continue learning and growing in their gardens and share their love for cultivating new and exciting things with their families.”
Along with opening the giveaway location in Eastover, RSWCD will use the new grant funding to host a traveling “Pop-Up Seed Sanctuary” to help distribute seeds at community events, festivals, farmers markets and other functions throughout Richland County.
Pop-Up Seed Sanctuary availability is limited, and requests will be fulfilled first-come, first-served. To request a Pop-Up Seed Sanctuary appearance, event coordinators can email Mary Hannah Lindsay, RSWCD community outreach coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Encouraging Conservation, Gardening at Home
In spring 2020, RSWCD launched its Seed Sanctuary program, providing free seeds to residents to encourage home gardening and pollinator conservation. With access to many public spaces restricted because of physical distancing requirements, initial orders were filled via mail.
During the first 18 months of the initiative, RSWCD provided some 13,000 packets of seeds to nearly 3,000 people. With the new Richland Library Eastover location and the Pop-Up Seed Sanctuary, RSWCD staff hope to encourage even more residents to begin or expand their home and community gardens.
“It is wonderful to finally have the ability to offer an in-person seed sanctuary,” Lindsay said. “My hope is that for Richland County residents, this initiative helps plant the seed of passion for home gardening and environmental stewardship.”
RSWCD’s Seed Sanctuary is made possible by a team of community volunteers who help prepare and label seed packets for distribution. Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to apply at www.richlandcountysc.gov/rswcd.
For more information about RSWCD or its programs, email Lindsay at email@example.com.