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

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

bio pics

Meet the Librarians

Eva is an undergraduate studying Environmental Studies with a concentration in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Her interests lie in the connection of social justice and ecology in food production, specifically how seed saving can serve to resist corporate consolidation, promote self governance, and maintain genetic diversity in the food system. She has been volunteering and interning with Homeless Garden Project for over a year, and will be completing her senior exit project setting up infrastructure for a sustained seed saving program at the HGP farm. She also works in an agroecology lab on campus and at a local organic farm, and indulges in DIY fermentation projects and making music on her downtime.

E.J. is an art student whose concentration is painting portraits that incorporate botanical illustration. They have interned with Rachel Carson Garden, The Homeless Garden Project, and currently work at UCSC’s Arboretum. E.J. brings knowledge gained from work as a gardener, chef, teacher, artist, and healer into their community engagement projects. Their priority is facilitating community healing to bring folks closer together and get folks’ basic needs met. They are finding ways to encourage community members to create gardens of their own with permaculture practices in mind. They hope to continue building their home seed library as well as their knowledge of co-planting native plants and locally adapted food crops.

Emily is a 3rd year environmental studies major focusing in agroecology. She loves plants and has worked at a nursery for two summers. She loves tea and is excited to work in the library.


Allison Bio Pic

Allison is a second year environmental studies major focusing in Agroecology and minoring in sustainability. She studies alternative food systems and interns with the CASFS farm. She supports gardening resilience practices like saving seed and making compost.


Office Hours:

Mondays 12:00-1:00pm

Tuesdays 1:30-3:00pm

Thursdays 1:30pm-3:00pm