“Grow Flagstaff” Seed Library

The bus stop garden mural that was painted by young community members.

The Growing Community Friday ALT’s group was able to visit the “Grow Flagstaff” Seed Library during our weekly hours. The Coconino County Cooperative Extension office not only is home to the seed library, but also has a bus stop garden right outside the building.

The bus stop garden outside of the seed library building.

The seed library itself is a neatly organized set of 54 wooden drawers, that hold individual envelopes full of mostly localized seeds. Seeds in dark, dry, and cool environments like this are more apt to survive for longer period of time, and it was noted that the Seed Bank organizers have plans to store excess seeds in a small refrigerator so they last even longer.

The set of wooden drawers that contain the alphabetized seed packets.

A seed library sends a message to the community of Flagstaff that growing is possible, even  with increased elevation, and that we can come together to make growing non-GMO, localized plants, more accessible to the entire city. Grow Flagstaff encourages citizens to borrow seeds, grow them in their own gardens, and then save seeds from their plants that are more diverse and localized to Flagstaff climate/soil. There is no penalty for not being able to save your seeds though, which makes the process a lot more welcoming for beginner gardeners who may not have any seed saving experience. Every gardener will have a different experience with their borrowed seeds, and each plant that has saved seeds will have its own story. Members of Grow Flagstaff have the opportunity of sharing that plants story, so that the next person who grows their seeds will be able to connect more to the growth of their plants community history.

A packed of Anasazi Beans, and their description.

In order to check out seeds, a community member would just have to complete a couple of steps. First, filling out a membership form in their Grow Flagstaff binder will allow you access to the entire variety of seeds in their library. However when you do check out seeds, there is a limit of five packets of seeds per visit. Next, signing in to the logbook located on the front desk is important so that they have public record of the amount of community members who are using the library.

Our Graduate Assistant Nicole filling out a membership form for the Colton Community Garden.

The bus stop garden outside of the extension office was beautiful, harboring a wide variety of plants (such as kale, tomatillos, tomatoes, etc). With its close proximity to public transportation and an elementary school, the whole community has great access to the garden. They even encourage those who may need food or want to get into gardening to eat some of the produce from their garden beds. Anything that is not consumed from the garden goes to seed, and then is stored in new envelopes for the library.

Growing localized seeds that have been shared throughout the community is a very special experience each gardener can have. Flagstaff is lucky to have such an amazing seed library, and if you would like to get involved with Grow Flagstaff Seed Library, you can get more information and updates on their facebook page:



By: Kaelyn Gavin and Madelyn Norstrem


When in Sedona…

Mario’s Greenhouse. His tomato vines.
Beautiful view of the creek in Sedona.


Apple Orchard at the Garland’s Lounge.

On Sunday, October 30th a group of students from our Growing Community class took a trip down to Sedona where we got to experience many different activities. First, we went to Garland’s Lodge where we met with a man named Mario who showed us his magnificent garden and his greenhouse. He gave us some information on how he’s had to put wire up around the garden to keep the deer and other animals out. Mario also explained how he tested two different pest controls in his greenhouse. He also had huge vines of kiwis growing around and on his greenhouse. During our time at the Garland’s Lodge we got to see the Apple Orchard where they sell their apples at the local Sedona Farmer’s Market. We also got to play in the creek at the entrance of the Garland’s Lounge. We then went to the Indian Gardens Cafe and had delicious homemade local foods for lunch. After the cafe we headed to the Sedona Farmer’s Market. On our drive we got to see a little bit of downtown Sedona and got to meet some locals at the Farmer’s Market. At the Farmer’s Market, we talked to director of the market, and she informed us on the rules of how you can be a part of the market and also on some history of the Farmer’s Market. Some interesting things that she told us was that all venders are local and there are only food venders at the market. Overall it was a wonderful day and we got to experience a lot of new things in Sedona.


By: Joanie Strattman & Madi Skansi 

Photos by: Shaelin Wood

Sue & Tony Norris

For our first guest of the semester we welcomed Sue & Tony Norris!  Sue has had a love for gardening since 1968 , ever since she moved to Virginia.  Her goal in moving there was to “completely live off the land”.  She recounted having to work countless hours caring for the garden, which was their only source of food. Having to depend solely on the planet for your source of nourishment can really strengthen the bond between earth, mind, and body.

Tony Norris is a musician, and he brought his guitar for us that day.  He played a song called “Grandma Put it All in Jars”.  The discussed the benefits of over-growing, harvesting, and then canning the extra produce!  The song was light-hearted and he is an exquisite musician!


By: Yessenia Perez & Bridgette Brados


A day in the Garden 10/6

Today in the garden we began the building process of our garden bed. It went along as a normal day in the garden, we all split up into teams and divided up the work. Some people watered the plants, others looked at compost to see if it needed turning, and the rest of us started the first step to creating our bed.

First thing we had to do was tear down the boarder that remained from the previous bed. During this process, we found a wasp nest in the rotten log. We had take precaution when dealing with the nest, thankfully there was only one wasp inhabiting the nest, and we ended up scaring it away.

This is the bed next to our garden space. We decided to take the measurements of this bed and use it for the new bed.

Next we took the measurements of the garden bed and put it next to new location. We plan on creating a bed the same size, so we created a scale using tape. The tape gave us a guide for digging, we made it a tad larger to take into account the boarders that we are going to set up.

Zach and Austin digging up the garden bed.

Once we finished creating the guide, we began digging. At first it was guys that were responsible for the digging the rest of us were “supervising.” After a couple minutes we started to trade off the shoveling and in the end it was the girls that finished the job.

Bridgette, Hailey, Joanie, and Madie finishing off the job.

Now we have the foundation ready our plan is to get the materials needed to begin constructing the garden bed.