Center for Coalfield Justice to hold seed swap event

On Sunday, April 2, the Center for Coalfield Justice (CCJ) will hold its second annual seed swap at its main offices in Washington. The event provides an opportunity for people in the area to get free seeds or donate ones that they no longer need. 

According to Kristen Locy, the outreach coordinator for CCJ, this is the second year that the organization has held the event. There will be a variety of gardening resources available to people for free at the event.

“We had a lot of seeds donated to us by various seed groups to give away for free but people can bring seeds that they have, like heirloom seeds, to trade them. It’s kind of just like take what you want, leave what you can,” she said. “We have grow your own food kits for people who are kind of getting into gardening, so we will have pots with soil in them and some potatoes, and people can of course take as many seeds as they want.”

Locy said that one of the main donors for the event is seed companies. She said that a lot of seeds will expire soon, so the companies are no longer able to sell them.

In addition to the seed swap, CCJ will serve lunch to those who attend the event. Weather permitting, they will set up a picnic in the community garden next to their office.

CCJ held this event for the first time last year, and Locy said that about 20 people attended it. She attributed those numbers to the pandemic. This year, the event has attracted more community interest.

“We have 80 on Facebook which is great, but I’ve learned from events that you can typically expect half of that, so 40 people would be awesome. We have plenty of food, so we are excited for as many people to come as possible,” she said.

According to Locy, gardening is a valuable skill to have for several reasons. 

“I think it gives people autonomy and makes people feel empowered. Gardening has been a really important part of my life in helping me understand where my food comes from and helping me have control over my food. It saves you money and I think it’s kind of healing in a way to get back to nature,” she said.

She said that the kits that they distribute are intended to help people who don’t have a lot of experience with gardening to be successful.

“The reason I chose potatoes to put in the grow your own food kit is because you kind of just put them in the ground and they’ll do their thing. You don’t have to be perfect with it,” she said. “You don’t have to have a big yard or like a farm to garden, even if you have a patio you can grow something like a tomato or potato easily.”

Ultimately, she said the most important thing is to encourage people to grow things they find interesting.

“It’s more whatever gets you excited. Whatever food or vegetable you think is interesting, grow that. If it’s spicy peppers, that’s awesome,” Locy said.

Those interested in attending can sign up here or at