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Greening & growing: Seed project takes root at Fairfield Woods Library

An idea that started in 2011 has germinated at the Fairfield Woods Branch Library, and two groups are helping it to grow a little bigger.

Children from Hill Farm Preschool and students from Ability First in Norwalk, which serves young adults with autism, brought the fruits of their labor to the branch library Thursday -- decorated envelopes for the Seed to Seed Library.

The Seed to Seed Library started in 2011, and offers plant seeds, including those needed to grow Southport onions, free to anyone.

"This is the first year the kids have made the envelopes," said Nancy Coriaty, deputy town librarian. Each made about 20 envelopes, decorated with their own design and labeled for the type of seed that each envelope will hold.

The envelope project was carried out under the tutelage of Eric Frisk, a master gardener, the owner of Growing with Nature and the chief gardener for the Fairfield teaching garden at Drew Park.

Frisk has been working with the students from Ability First, teaching them about gardening. Last year, he said, they started growing pea plants indoors before transplanting them.

"We'll probably start some inside again," he said, noting that last year at this time, they were already starting to work outside in the garden. "As soon as the ground isn't frozen, probably by the end of this month."

The seeds at the Fairfield Woods Branch are offered free to anyone. However, library officials ask that some of the plants be allowed to go to seed and returned to the library, though it's not a requirement.

The library partnered with the community garden in 2012 to increase the variety and amount of available seeds. The gardners from Ability First tended the plants selected for seed production, and the Hill Farm preschoolers became a seed partner and grew tomatillos in their school garden.

The decorated envelopes will be used to hold the seeds collected after the 2013 growing season.

Frisk and the library are looking to increase the number of "seed partners" and will offer "Saving Open-pollinate and Heirloom Organic Seed" on Saturday, March 15, at 1 p.m. at the branch library, 1147 Fairfield Woods Road.

Genevieve Reilly

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