Our Seed Swap is Growing “like a Zucchini Plant in the Summer”

Posted Apr 16, 2024, by Allison Evans

As Karen Mansfield of the Observer Reporter remarked in her March 26th article, “The Center for Coalfield Justice Seed Swap is growing like a zucchini plant in the summer.” We got a chuckle out of that because it was a brilliant analogy and oh so true! Our 4th Annual Seed Swap broke attendance records this year with 170 folks in attendance.

2024 Seed Swap OR

We switched venues and hosted the swap in the downstairs wing of the Citizens Library in Washington. It was the perfect venue for our growing exchange, and the library couldn’t have been more wonderful to work with! We were very excited to hear some attendees even signed up for library cards. Shout out to Ernie and Kathy for all the logistics and set up help!

We were pleased to offer thousands of seed packages with donations coming from some awesome companies: Hudson Valley Seed Co, High Mowing Organic Seeds, True Leaf Market, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co, Fedco, Seed Savers/Herman's Garden, GrowOrganic.com , Sow Right Seeds, MI Gardener, and Duprees. We also received two grants this year from the Climate Justice Alliance and the Sisters of St. Joseph that helped us buy more seeds for the swap.

We also had some soil donations from Ann's Feeds, Agway, and Busy Beaver that helped us to offset the cost of soil. Root Pouch donated for the fourth year in a row – they sent us 100 free grow bags for the grow-your-own-potatoes station! And Lowes provided free delivery of pots!

With Dupree’s help, we were able to provide enough potatoes to grow 100 grow bags. Our extra spuds all went to Firefly Garden! The potato bag station was very popular again this year - thanks to my husband Jason for manning it two years in a row! He’s becoming a potato pro.

With Dupree’s help we were able to  provide enough potatoes to grow 100 grow bags. Our extra spuds all went to Pam to plant at Firefly Garden!

We served Gabby's Chicken Salad on Joe’s Bakery Buns along with Paul’s Chickpea Salad, Fruit, cookies, and veggie trays donated by Walnut Grill. Our Organizer, Paul, made his famous chickpea salad with help from my sister Olivia putting the spread together. Thanks Liv! 

Big thanks to our volunteers and friends!
Big thanks to our volunteers and friends!

This year we were excited to host some of our favorite community organizations at our partner tables: Firefly Gardens, the Master Gardeners of Washington County, Highland Ridge Community Gardens, and the Common Ground Teen Center Garden. Because of the help of our great volunteers, CCJ staff could spend time with attendees and chat about our active work and campaigns.

All in all I am so happy with how our 4th Annual Seed Swap went! It was nice to gather in community, celebrate the start of spring, and help equip community members with seeds, potato bags, information, and inspiration!

Hands down this is my favorite event of the year! Thanks to all who attended, volunteered, and donated, we appreciate you all! Be sure to plan to save your seeds this year so you can bring them back to the swap next year to make this event more sustainable for all.

I will leave you with a few of our upcoming events. Be sure to put them on your calendar and register early! 

  • We are hosting Rolling Stone Author Justin Noble for the release of this new book Petroleum 238 at the Frank Sarris Library on May 4th. For more information and to register, click here.
  • We hope you can join us for 🐠Free Kids Fishing Day 🐟 on Sunday May 26th at Dutch Fork Lake. Kids and adults can fish without a license and we will provide young beginners with free bait, lure and a fishing pole to keep! Registration will be up soon, keep an eye on your email.

Please send us pictures of your garden! We would love to share on socials everything that you grow. We want to celebrate your green thumb with you.

And if you need a little extra help, the Master Gardeners of Washington County are taking applications now for their class starting in October. It has been a great experience and I highly recommend the program. 

Happy Growing!


  • Allison Evans

    Allison Evans (she/her) is our Events Coordinator and was born and raised in Washington County. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Studio Art with a minor in History from Westminster College and an Associate of Science in Fashion Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Allison is an artist, a photographer, and an activist whose passion for activism and social justice brought her to CCJ. She serves on the board of a local non-profit, ReVisions, that strives to fight racism by addressing its roots in our educational system and teaching the next generation about diversity and inclusivity. Allison also has ties to the fracking industry. The family farm she grew up on had a well pad, and her husband worked for the industry for years. She saw firsthand how fracking and energy extraction affects people in her community. Allison has a passion for sustainability, growing her own food, and composting. She loves gardening with her husband Jason, spending time with family and friends, trips to the ocean, camping, and spoiling her cats, Kitty and Katniss. Contact Allison at allison@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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