Lama Library Goes to Seed

By Cody Ng, Kapiʻo Staff Writer /

For students at Kapiʻolani Community College, Lama Library is the No. 1 on-campus resource for books, magazines, DVDs and other valuable resources.

Thanks to the efforts of some innovative librarians, it is now also the go-to place for home gardeners to pick up a wide variety of fruit, vegetable, bean and flowering plant seeds.

Share Seeds Flyer

Share Seeds Flyer

The KCC Share Seeds stand was unveiled last October on the ground floor of Lama Library, between the printers and the large TV. Available during regular library hours, the stand allows KCC students, faculty and staff to donate seeds from their garden and take seeds for their own use.

Share Seeds Stand

Share seeds stand, Lama Library

“We hope that this stand will promote discussions of where our food really comes from, seed-to-seed cycle, food sovereignty and sustainability,” said.

Joy Oehlers

Information literacy librarian Joy Oehlers

The Share Seeds stand was first proposed by librarian Jessica Lum, who had seen seed stands at the Manoa Public Library, Fresh Café, KCC Farmers Market and other places and thought something similar could be established for KCC. Lum’s idea blossomed into a collaborative project that drew from resources across the University of Hawaii system.

Learning resources librarian Joyce Tokuda contacted Gaye Chan, professor and chair of art and art history at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and co-founder of the Eating in Public program (, which promotes the sharing on non-genetically modified seeds. Through Chan, Tokuda was able to secure one of the programs seed stands, which are handcrafted out of recycled wood.

Next, Oehlers reached out to Desmond Ogata of the UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources Seed Lab and secured a donation of non-GMO corn, papaya, tomato, spring onion, eggplant and other vegetable seeds worth and estimated $100.

Finally, four students from an English class taught by Porsha Dela Fuente took on the task of making seed envelopes from discarded magazines as part of a service-learning project.

Oehlers said the library hopes to eventually partner with the Campus Sustainability Club and the stewards of the mala (garden) located behind the Manele building to keep the program going. Ongoing contributions from the KCC community at large will also be important, she said.

“To sustain this project, we would need our students, staff and faculty to deposit seeds from their gardens into our little envelopes, mark their origins and, if they can, provide planting tips,” Oehlers said.

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