10 October 2022
A variety of zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, and a small vase of orange flowers sits on a yellow tablecloth with Garden Table instructions.

Cool, autumn weather and… gardens? It may not seem like the two go hand-in-hand, but now is the perfect time to start thinking about library programming and services for next year. One great way to get started is with a Garden Table.

Started in 2018, the Vespasian Warner Public Library District Garden Table encourages local gardeners to bring their surplus fruits and vegetables to share with the community. Then, library visitors are invited to take home whatever items they can use. This is a great way for the community to receive free produce that may otherwise go to waste.

The guidelines for the Garden Table were developed by library staff in cooperation with the local health department. The goal was to offer a simple exchange site for patrons to use which required minimal upkeep for library staff.

Garden Table Guidelines

  • Start Your Own Garden: Are you interested in growing items at home for the Garden Table? You can borrow seeds from the Seed Library to get started.
  • Take What You Will Use: The Garden Table is for everyone! All items are free and open to the public. Please take only what you will use.
  • First-Come, First-Served: All produce is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The library will not reserve or hold Garden Table items for patrons.
  • Whole and Fresh Only: All produce must be fresh and whole. Pre-cut items will not be accepted and refrigeration is not available. Any spoiled items will be thrown away.
  • Bring a Container: You must supply your own containers, boxes, or bags to transport produce if needed.
  • Eat at Your Own Risk: Neither the library nor growers are responsible for the produce that is provided. While we do our best to make sure all items are fresh, please consume at your own risk.

The Vespasian Warner Public Library District is currently wrapping up its 4th year of the Garden Table service (the library did not offer the table in 2020). Since then, several other libraries have started to offer their own versions of a Garden Table. Other libraries also have their own gardens and share the harvest with library visitors.

For more information about the Garden Table, please contact Samantha Rusk at the Vespasian Warner Public Library District in Clinton at rusk@vwarner.org.