In yet another example of the federal government’s war on self-sufficiency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture shut down a seed library in Pennsylvania, claiming that a system whereby residents could borrow heirloom seeds and then replace them at harvest time was a violation of the 2004 Seed Act, while a commissioner warned that such behavior could lead to “agri-terrorism.”
When the Cumberland County Library System set up the facility at Mechanicsburg’s Joseph T. Simpson Public Library back in April, they thought it would be a useful way for locals to borrow seeds and replace them at the end of the growing season, encouraging residents to learn more about growing their own food and acquiring key self-sufficiency skills.
Following in the footsteps of similar initiatives across the state, the library system was careful to check that they were doing everything by the book and not breaking any laws as well as meeting with the county extension office.However, the deadly threat posed by the seed library was soon made clear when the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent a letter telling the library system that they were in violation of the 2004 Seed Act, which regulates the selling of seeds (the library was not selling them), under the justification of preventing the growth of invasive plant species, cross-pollination and poisonous plants.
“The commissioners were equally flabbergasted by the change of events, as well as with how the agriculture department handled the investigation — sending a high-ranking official and lawyers to a meeting with the library,” reports the Cumberlink Sentinel.
Feds told the library system that they would have to test each individual seed packet in order for the facility to continue, an impossible task, which meant that the seed library was shut down.
Cumberland County Library System Executive Director Jonelle Darr was told that the USDA would, “continue to crack down on seed libraries that have established themselves in the state.”
Cumberland County Commissioner Barbara Cross applauded the USDA’s decision, warning that allowing residents to borrow seeds could have led to acts of “agri-terrorism.”
The library has abandoned the seed system and instead can only promote events where residents are encouraged to directly swap seeds with each other.
“Gosh, this makes me wonder when they are going to crack down on all of those GMO fields, with their grave concerns about cross-pollination,” writes Daisy Luther. “Look out, Monsanto…oh, wait. This only applies to regular people growing vegetables. GMOs aren’t considered an invasive species.” …