Barriers Removed for Community Seed Sharing
House Bill 197 passes the Senate 20-0
Wednesday April 18, 2018, Juneau, Alaska - Gardeners and community members can now participate in local seed exchanges and opportunities for seed sharing without onerous regulations on the books. House Bill 197, sponsored by Representative Jennifer Johnston (R – Anchorage, Girdwood, Indian) passed the Senate unanimously on Wednesday, after receiving bipartisan support last week in the House.
Over the last several years, community seeds libraries have been springing up organically around the state, offering opportunities for gardeners to share seeds and stories of growing great Alaskan plants. To encourage these libraries to flourish and allow more Alaskans to participate in this time-honored tradition, House Bill 197 removes regulatory barriers for community seed sharing.
“I was intrigued when this idea was brought to me by community members,” said Rep. Johnston. “It didn’t make sense that such homegrown, community-centric activity would be regulated in the same way as commercial operations.”
The labeling requirements for noncommercial seed sharing will now be the seeds’ common name, information on the seed library, and a label denoting any toxic treatment of the seeds. Additionally, the seed library must display the statement, “Not authorized for commercial use and not classified, graded, or inspected by the State of Alaska”. Currently there are more than two pages of requirements for seeds that are shared within the state.
“Improving community unity, access to healthy produce and decreasing food insecurity have brought the Legislature together, and I’m pleased to see the bill get so much support,” said Rep. Johnston.
House Bill 197 now heads to the Governor for his signature.
For more information contact Rep. Johnston’s staff Robert Ervine at 907-465-4949