El Paso’s public libraries aren't just helping the community to read and expand their intellectual horizons they're also helping to feed the communities hunger by offering an inventory of free seeds to residents, so they're encouraged to grow their own edible gardens.

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The seed libraries include non-genetically modified fruits, vegetables, and herb seeds to give El Pasoans easy access to nutritious food, especially those in lower-income communities.

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According to a 2013 study conducted by Food Trust and the Institute of Healthy Living, El Paso County needs 27 more supermarkets to bring fresh food closer to many neighborhoods in the county. Existing grocery stores are unevenly distributed, causing lower-income neighborhoods to be under-served and more likely to get their groceries from convenience stores or dollar stores with limited healthy options.

The free seeds are in the library’s Sow.Grow.ReapEat Program includes carrots, beets, tomatoes, lettuce, arugula, cabbage, cilantro, cucumbers, cantaloupe, green beans, eggplant, kale, and more.

“If you are buying a lot of certain vegetables in your house, like peppers and cilantro. It would be easier if you just grow them in your backyard. Then you can do succession planting, where you probably plant your seeds a week or two apart from each other, and then you can have those vegetables for the whole season,” Gigi Shamaley, El Paso county extension agent of family and consumer science.

El Paso’s public libraries aren't just helping to read and expand intellectual horizons they're also helping feed the community's hunger.
El Paso’s public libraries aren't just helping to read and expand intellectual horizons they're also helping feed the community's hunger.
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Residents can find information on the care of their vegetable seeds on the back of the seed package or visit the Sow.Grow.ReapEat Program website or the county extension office.

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