Time to Grow: County residents can access free seeds for spring

April 8, 2024

Obtain up to 4 seed packets in person or by mail

Just in time for warmer weather, the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (RSWCD) has reopened its Seed Sanctuary, making free vegetable, herb and wildflower seeds available to Richland County residents.

Residents can obtain up to four packets of seeds by visiting the County Administration Building (2020 Hampton St., Columbia) or Richland Library Eastover (608 Main St., Eastover), or by requesting seeds by mail via Google form: forms.gle/ej5yzbF6NRsRQcV37.

In 2023, RSWCD distributed more than 7,800 seed packets through the popular program, made possible thanks to funding provided by an Environmental Stewardship Grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. Find a list of available seed varieties and recommended planting dates at www.richlandcountysc.gov/seedsanctuary.

“The act of gardening connects humans to the environment in an intimate way, and we want everyone to have the opportunity to grow food and flowers for themselves, their families and the ecosystem,” said Chanda Cooper, RSWCD’s conservation education analyst. “We’re excited to once again bring free seeds to our community, and we appreciate the continued support of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation for this initiative.”

Throughout the growing season, the RSWCD will also organize “Pop-Up Seed Sanctuaries” at community events around Richland County. To request a Pop-Up Seed Sanctuary appearance, event coordinators should contact Chelsea Holliday, RSWCD’s administrative assistant of outreach and community engagement: [email protected].

“We are proud to offer multiple methods of distribution, and we hope residents will visit our locations or stop by a pop-up event to take advantage of this wonderful program,” Holliday said. “We aim to distribute even more seeds this year.”

Pop-Up Seed Sanctuary availability is limited, and requests are first-come, first-served.

RSWCD launched the Seed Sanctuary in 2020 to encourage home gardening and pollinator conservation. The Seed Sanctuary functions in large part due to community volunteers, who package seeds for distribution.

Richland County supports RSWCD’s work with staff and other resources. To learn more about the programs of the RSWCD, including the Seed Sanctuary, visit www.richlandcountysc.gov/rswcd.