Demeter Seed Project

The Demeter Seed Project of UC Santa Cruz is a student-run, non-profit organization of local famers and gardeners who believe in the importance of preserving the genetic heritage of our food. The library was founded in 2011 by Andrew Whitman with a $10,000 grant from the Strauss Foundation and support from Measure 43. It is currently run by students involved in UCSC's Food Systems Working Group (read more about the librarians, below).

Our mission is to preserve and breed locally adapted cultivars and seed varieties in California Central Coast. Our objective is to help gardeners and farmers access seeds and educate youth and community members about the importance of biodiversity in our agricultural systems. Additionally, we actively manage a web-based seed library social network, a national network to connect farmers and seed savers. Ultimately, our living seed library promotes the resiliency and autonomy of our local food system. We aim to demonstrate a society that is not reliant on large seed companies and multinational corporations that control the global food system.

We at the Demeter Seed Library conduct “grow-outs” to grow crop varieties to seed as well as work with local organic farms to grow seeds. We catalog seeds and distribute them to farmers and gardeners. We maintain a large inventory of seed by continually growing out the varieties that are older or have been greatly lent out. We encourage people who use our seeds to grow a portion of their crops through their lifecycle to bear seeds. 

We ENCOURAGE donations of both seed and/or money because we are always in need of both resources to increase our presence in the community. If you would like to donate seeds, send to:

CASFS (Demeter Seed Project)
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

If you donate seeds please include information about the year it was grown out, the variety of crop, and where it was grown out! The more info the merrier! Thank you! If you would like to make a financial doniation and mail us a check please make it out to "UC Regents" and "Demeter Seed Library" in the memo line.....thanks!

If you have any questions about getting involved, about upcoming seed exchanges and other events, or about plant reproduction/seeds please email us at demeterseedlibrary@gmail.com

Goals of the Demeter Seed Library

The Demeter Seed Library at UCSC thrives to service the Santa Cruz community by:

  1. Aiding backyard gardening projects with labor and seeds.
  2. Supplying information about urban gardening and seed saving to community members.
  3. Hosting events to teach about sustainable food systems especially involving the resilience and biological diversity of agriculture.
  4. Maintaining an inventory of heirloom seed varieties that prosper in Santa Cruz’s climate and are available to the public
  5. Distributing seeds freely to all!
  6. Connecting with other organizations for a more succinct transformation into a sustainable agricultural system

If you are not in Santa Cruz and are looking for a seed library near you visit the United States Seed Libraries directory

Meet the Librarians

Katie Syme and Candance Addleman are our new seed librarians for 2016-2017

Katie Syme is a senior studying Environmental Studies, Economics, and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz. She also holds an associate degree in Social Sciences and certification in permaculture design. Katie has worked as an organic garden coordinator and farm worker since first arriving to Santa Cruz as a transfer student in 2015. Her connection to food and floral work drew her studies to agroecology from a desire to cultivate life in all things. Katie's research includes social equity, seed sovereignty, and bees. She hopes that in pursuing these things, she can bring awareness to how closed loop systems and diversity can contribute to healthier societies and methods of production.

Candace Addleman is a third year Environmental Studies major with a concentration in Agroecology at UCSC. She was raised amongst her mother’s garden, fueled by organic produce and whole grain health bread reminiscent of compacted sawdust. This early influence has contributed to her evolution as a passionate gardener, food systems advocate and artist who enjoys exploring the intersectionality of art and the environment. She has worked on an urban farm in Santa Cruz, reestablished and co-manages the Rachel Carson College Garden, and currently teaches a class that aims to share agroecological methods at the Rachel Carson College Garden. She is particularly interested in the potential role community gardens can play in addressing food insecurity while simultaneously connecting people back to earth.

 You can reach them at demeterseedlibrary@gmail.com