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Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands Seed Lending Library

NEMI’s Seed Lending Library is a collection of NEMI Public Library.  Seeds are available to all card holders.  Sign up here.

Seeds are now available to be checked out for the 2021 growing season!

How it works-

  • The seeds have been gathered from plants grown on Manitoulin Island. They have been donated to the library. We cannot guarantee their viability.
  • You must be a NEMI Public Library Member to borrow seeds. Library membership is free to all NEMI Residents, there is a $30 annual library membership fee for nonresidents. Sign up here.
  • If you borrow seeds, we ask that you harvest seeds from the plants you grow and return at least 3 times as many as you borrowed. It is helpful, but not necessary to return seeds with the barcode bag that your seeds came in.
  • There are no limits to how many types may be borrowed, but we ask that people take only what they are able to grow this season.
  • Donations of new seeds gathered at the end of this growing season are welcome. All donations should be heirloom/open-pollinated seeds grown for at least one generation on Manitoulin island.
  • Most seeds are very easy to collect from mature plants. We have print and web resources available to support seed collection. See Resource and How to Guide links below.
  • What if they don’t grow? There are no fees, fines or punishments. Just let us know what happened.
  • Call (705-368-2444), email ( or come in to check out seeds.

Seeds Available for Spring 2021:

Amaranth, Burgundy

Basil, Sweet

Beans, Romano

Bean, Tender Green Snap

Bean, Menonite Purple Stripe Pole

Butterfly Flowers

Clover, Crimson


Corn, Mandan Bride


Echinacea, White

Hollyhock, Black

Hollyhock, Antwerp

Impatiens, Himalya

Lettuce, Leaf Mix

Liatris, Spicata

Marigold, Red/Brown

Orach, Red

Pea, Russian Sugar

Poppy, Black Peony

Radish, Red Bell

Sweet William

Zinnia, Red Tall

Zinnia, Pink Tall-double flower

Zinnia, Pink Short

 NEMI’s Seed Lending Library is a free program whose goal is to strengthen the resilience, sustainability and connection of our community by sharing biodiverse, locally-adapted seeds.  

A seed lending library is a collection of seeds grown and donated by local growers.  These seeds have been proven to grow successfully in our local climate and environment and are intended to be used and replenished on a regular basis by local growers.  Seeds in the Lending Library are available to be borrowed, just like a library book.  How does it work?  Growers borrow the seeds at planting time, grow and harvest the crop, setting aside some of the plants to grow to seed.  Save the seeds and return at least the amount you borrowed to the library. 

We encourage you to return at least 3 times the amount of seeds you borrowed.  This allows the seed library to be sustained by community seed growers, helps to grow the collection and balances the reality that not all growers will be successful in growing and saving viable seeds.  3 times may seem like a lot but each plant produces a lot of seeds!           

VIDEO: Introduction to NEMI Seed Library and Seed Saving Basics

How can you get involved?

  • Borrow seeds and return some to the library at the end of the season
  • Donate seeds from plants you have had success with in your garden.  Get the Return/Donation Form here.
  • Volunteer to help maintain and organize the collection
Seeds have been saved and passed down for thousands of years. Seen lending libraries carry on this tradition.