The downtown branch of the Portage Co. Library is located at 1001 Main St. in Stevens Point. (Metro Wire photo)

Portage Co. seed bank expands to multiple library locations; donations sought

By Patrick Lynn

Portage County — Several organizations in Portage County have collaborated to expand a seed bank initiative, now available at multiple library locations.

The expanded seed bank offers a variety of fruit, vegetable, and native plant seeds at the Portage County Library branches in Almond, Stevens Point, Plover, Rosholt, and Amherst’s Lettie W. Jensen Library.

Seeds can be picked up during business hours at each location, and organizers are actively seeking donations of additional native plant seeds, according to a news release from the city.

Seed banks serve as a valuable resource for preserving and sharing plant seeds. This expansion is a collaborative effort involving Central Rivers Farmshed’s Growing Collective, the city of Stevens Point, the Portage County Library, the Conservation & Community Planning program in the College of Natural Resources, the Center for Land Use Education, and the Environmental & Conservation Planning Club from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, along with Wild Ones Central Wisconsin.

The partnership builds on the success of Lawn Gone Native, a program that promotes Wisconsin-native plants in urban landscaping, according to Mayor Mike Wiza.

“Seed banks have been a fantastic resource in the county,” Wiza said in a news release on Monday. “Especially with increased costs, it’s great to be able to help people grow their own food to not only eat healthier but also reduce the costs of providing food for their families.”

The seed banks are managed by staff and volunteers from the partner organizations. Community members who are interested in volunteering to help collect, package, and distribute seeds are encouraged to email [email protected], indicating their preferred location.

A volunteer packaging event is scheduled for June 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Portage County Library in Downtown Stevens Point, 1001 Main St.

Lawn Gone Native – Stevens Point, initiated in 2023, aims to enhance local pollinator habitats beyond the City’s No Mow May program. Students and advisors in the Environmental Conservation and Planning Club at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are supporting the program by evaluating its community use and environmental impact. More information about Lawn Gone Native – Stevens Point can be found at Lawn Gone Native.

Lawn Gone Native – Stevens Point is an adaptation of a project by Zoe Roane-Hopkins, a graduate of Penn State University and Savannah College of Art & Design. Content from the original project is available at Lawn Gone Native.