LA Public Library's Free Veggie, Fruit Seed Giveaway Is Back by Popular Demand

Studies have shown children who are involved in growing their own vegetables and fruits are more likely to eat healthy.

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The Los Angeles Public Library is giving away free fruit and vegetable seeds to raise awareness about the environmental benefits of gardening and growing plants in honor of Earth Month in April.

While supplies last, each of the 73 library locations is giving away some 200 packets of seeds provided by non-profits Seeds of Life and Ahern Seeds through Saturday, April 15. Some of the available seeds include those of watermelons, chives, basil and broccoli.

“A lot of seed companies have seeds that they cannot sell,” explained Vlada Vladic, the founder of Seeds of Life. “I gathered the seeds and repackaged them to redistribute. The goal is to provide sustainability or means toward sustainability.”

After Vladic approached the library system, the seed giveaway began last year. The “beloved” program is back by popular demand.

“People love [the seeds],” Diane Olivo-Posner, the Principal Librarian for the Central Library, said. “They want to take multiple packs. They want to start their own gardens.”

Gardening is environmentally beneficial as it improves the quality of soil and air naturally while promoting biodiversity. Even for families who live in apartments, having a pot of vegetables or fruits is like having a natural air purifier.

“Some families don’t have a house or yards but they’re able to grow things in apartments,” Olivo-Posner said. “They work together. They check out books from library and look for information online, or they talk to their local librarian and say, ‘Do you have any books? How do I grow seeds?’”

Vladic, who is passionate about gardening and teaching children to garden, agreed that parents don’t have to have a plot of land to educating children on the value of growing plants.

“You can start with a couple of pots on your patio,” Vladic said. “The idea behind all of this is engaging kids with something that's related to nature, something that will provide a lesson for lifetime. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t like gardening.”

Jayce O’Brien is one of the parents who are eager to teach their young children about the importance of sustainability. The father of 2-year-old Emma picked up a couple of broccoli and basil seed packets following a story time for pre-school kids at the Central Library in Downtown LA.

“For me, it’s very important to be sustainable and reduce our impact, so growing our own food definitely interests us,” O’Brien said. “This is something I want [my daughter] to know and realize the impact she can have on the globe.”

This year’s seed giveaway lasts through Saturday, April 15. But some library branches have already run out of the seed packets, so families are encouraged to contact the library of their choice ahead.

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