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An Open Source Community Model to Save Seeds – a WordPress Seedbank Plugin

Recently, the seed saving movement has regained popularity as part of the growing backlash against the corporatization of the food supply and genetically engineered crops, also known as GMOs. Seed banks, libraries and swaps are springing up across the globe as individuals and communities reclaim access to local, open pollinated sources of seed. For many, the tools related to seed saving have not changed since the time people began sorting, sifting and storing seeds for next year’s bounty. However, one group has a new “weapon of mass creation” to offer the global seed sovereignty movement….

New software for the Cleveland Seed Bank, a seed saving initiative, has been released to the public as an open source website plugin that can turn any WordPress site into a community seed bank. The software, called WP-Seedbank, was conceived by Marilyn McHugh, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Hummingbird Project (THP) and developed in collaboration with Cleveland GiveCamp.

The Hummingbird Project, a non-profit that works to improve stewardship of the Earth using sustainable principles, was selected as one of 18 organizations to participate in this year’s Cleveland GiveCamp in July. Over the course of the weekend, Cleveland GiveCamp connected more than 200 technology professionals with non-profit groups, offering an opportunity to solve their most pressing technical needs.

Working around the clock on the shores of Lake Erie, a team of eight individuals collaborated with THP to design and produce a seed exchange tool for the new Cleveland Seed Bank website. What was designed to solve a problem for one non-profit may just become the solution for the hundreds of community seed banks and seed libraries sprouting up around the globe.

“Taking our cues from Mother Nature, we wrote a customizable plugin and are choosing to distribute the source code freely so everyone on Earth can benefit and can help it grow,” said Meitar Moscovitz, a programmer on the development team.

“Our original idea was to build resiliency and community in our hometown and we are still dedicated to accomplishing that mission, but this WordPress plugin makes it possible for anyone who shares those values to also do the same. With a few clicks you will have first-hand access to all the same capabilities that we do.” said McHugh.

Making this plugin open source — free and available to everyone — THP hopes to provide a tool for the community of seed sharing groups, but also hopes this same community will further develop and improve the software.

“The GiveCamp weekend is over and the programmers have all gone back to their day jobs” adds THP co-founder, Chris Kennedy. “By downloading and spreading the news about this open source program, we expect to find other ecologically minded techies whose expertise will help evolve the original application so that it is even more effective.”

Currently the software allows users to create a profile, upload seeds individually or from a spreadsheet to share, search the available seeds using several categories, make seed requests and provides the opportunity to get, swap or sell seed varieties. Much like Craigslist, the program provides a platform for seed exchanges and relies on users to sort out the terms and logistic of the swap.

The WP-Seedbank plugin can be downloaded here.

An open forum to suggest improvements or provide bug reports to programmers is hosted in github. Please read this before you post to github.

THP would like to thank the team who worked so hard on this plugin and the Cleveland Seed Bank website; led by cyberbusking hacktivist Meitar Moscovitz, along with Kip Price, Alex Redinger, Jamie Kosempa, Adam Dutko, Brianna Spayd, Lauren Berlekamp, project coordinator Michelle Grady White and all the generous folks at Cleveland GiveCamp.


The Cleveland Seed Bank is an initiative of The Hummingbird Project, a global non-profit based in Cleveland, Ohio, dedicated to building regenerative ecological systems and empowering individuals in areas with limited resources. The Cleveland Seed Bank works to inspire community members to join the worldwide food movement to protect seed integrity and promote our shared seed heritage.


  1. Thank you for all your hard work! We are 9 days away from opening a new community seed library in Camarillo, CA. Your timing is impecable!

  2. Thanks so much ~ this will add to our page LivingSeedLibrary dot Net ~

    what do you use for a filter to only allow humans

    I am also working on an app (seed saving) if anyone has skill at that please contact me

  3. Thanks Pavel, Camarillo Seeds, Susan, Sean & Garlic for your kind words! We are hoping to add a database feature this year to improve the functionality of the plugin. We are also having the plugin translated into different languages (we have 12 translators so far!) to make it more accessible to the global seed saving movement. Here’s to planting the seeds of community resiliency–one seed (& one WordPress plugin!) at a time!

  4. where is the link to this seed bank plugin , we (Green Seekers) want to add something like that on our web. thank you

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