Nightly News   |  March 22, 2013

Seed libraries help future crops

With so much concern over what's in our food and where it comes from, seed savers say they're taking back the power to feed themselves, one backyard crop at a time. NBC’s Diana Alvear reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> of progress. even though spring has gotten off to a cold start in a lot of our country, planting season can't be all that far off. that brings us tonight to a movement under way in this country to save the seeds of one year's harvest to plant in the next and create something of a legacy over the years. nbc's diana alviyar reports from richmond, california .

>> reporter: kelly grows a bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs in her california backyard.

>> this is cilantro.

>> reporter: all by borrowing seeds from her local library. an old fashioned card catalog houses hundreds of varieties. rebecca newburnd the library three years ago.

>> you can come and check out the tomato plants.

>> reporter: it's simple. and it's free.

>> we want you to plant them, grow them out and return the seeds for other people to borrow.

>> reporter: it's how people farmed for centuries, saving the seeds from one year's harvard to plant the following season .

>> people have moved away from the farm, growing their own food and a lot of the varieties weren't saved. so we have lost tons of genetic diversity.

>> reporter: many varieties are now patented by large conglomerates for use in commercial farming. that spurred a movement to reclaim seeds as a community resource.

>> i really like tomatoes. it's something you can save the seed and eat at the same time.

>> reporter: a seed summit at university of california santa cruz featured seed saving lessons and a seed swap. in the u.s. alone there are 60 seed libraries in 23 states and more are in the works.

>> the more disconnected we get, the less power we have and less control we have over what food is produced and how it's produced.

>> reporter: when kelly saves and shares seeds they represent a lot more to her than just lettuce and peas. for her, they represent a political act.

>> if you have seeds, you hold the capacity to grow your own food and to feed yourself.

>> reporter: it's become a family affair for kelly . snipping salad greens for dinner with her daughters. for others it is a necessity.

>> i have people that are like, thank you, i could not have healthy food if it weren't for the fact that they could get access to free seed.

>> reporter: cultivating an appreciation for nature's gifts one seed at a time. diana alviyar, nbc news, richmond, california .