Iloilo City Cluster Takes First Steps Towards Establishing a Seed Library

This past December 5th , the men and women of the Iloilo City Cluster were back again at Brgy. Cochero for the 8th week in order to continue their work with the community and to discuss the next stage of the project: The
seed library. This project, which intends to create greater food security within the community would be the first of it’s kind in Iloilo city.

Like in past weeks, the activity began with some inner conditioning, in this case a meditation session led by Richard Daulo. They then proceeded to a sharing session, in which the participants could talk about their experiences in urban gardening. Baranggay Captain Teresita Chua (“Babes”) shared how happy she was that she was already able to harvest some okra from the plant the group had gifted to her at the beginning of the project. She also mentioned that their efforts were beginning to encourage other households to try urban gardening as well. All in all, the participants were happy with the progress of their gardens, as well as the new things that they had learned while caring for their plants.

The speaker for this week was Rodelyn Calibo, and she began the discussion with a review of the different kinds of seeds and proceeded to outline the methods of saving each one. Afterwards she explained the three step process for using a seed library:

  1. Humiram- After completing an interview, participants can borrow seeds, making sure to fill in their contact details
    as well as the type of seeds and amount taken. This information will be filed away by the seed librarian.
  2. Itanim- Participants must plant seeds using methods in alignment with the values and methods endorsed by ESSA.
    Seeds must be grown organically to produce safe, sustainable food and strong seed stock. Aside from taking good
    care of the seeds, the borrower is also asked to record information such as time from planting to harvest, and
    environmental preferences, in order to create a database. This can be use to create more successful plantings in the
  3. Ibalik- The participants must save an equal or greater amount of seeds than they borrowed to return to the library.
    Upon returning the seeds, the librarian will help them fill out the return card as well as record any useful
    information. The seeds will then be stored properly and marked with the date of harvest.

The participants were very excited for the proposition of a seed library and a librarian was quickly selected. The rest of the session consisted of brainstorming on ways of building up the library. Working with the DA, community farms, gardens and the rest of the ESSA network were some of the sources considered. All in all it was a very productive event that showed great potential for the future.

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