Many backyard gardeners and farmers have traded seeds for generations, but that activity was actually illegal until now.

Monday, Governor Bill Walker signed House Bill 197 at the Alaska Plant Materials Center in Palmer

The bill makes it legal for people to trade or barter seeds for non-commercial use.

Rob Carter, an agronomist and manager at Alaska Plant Materials, said there are many varieties people grow and experiment with to perfect for Alaska’s climate. He said it’s important to share those seeds and that knowledge.

“That really has the opportunity to develop Alaska’s small scale agricultural industry, the biodiversity of the crops we grow and true sustainability with in the state of Alaska,” Carter said.

The bill also legalizes seed libraries where people can donate their un-used seeds or exchange for different varieties.

Carter said there are only a handful of seed libraries in Alaska right now but the new legislation means more could open up.

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