The Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project launched an online tool this month to help farmers find new and existing varieties — and varieties in the works — of carrots, especially carrots of novel colors. The new gallery is the first of its kind and includes over 30 carrot varieties and advanced selections included in CIOA. Gallery users can search material by color, disease resistance, shape, flavor, length, origin, top size, and commercial availability. Also included are images of each carrot — both the full root and a cross-section showing the core. The gallery will be updated to include links to project trial results.
Take a tour of the new gallery in the CIOA webinar hosted last month by eOrganic. In addition to the gallery tour, members of the CIOA research team present results from the first three years of the project. In particular, advancements in breeding under organic conditions for nematode resistance and for beneficial relationships with soil microorganisms. Continue reading
The new comment deadline is May 11, 2015.
Pollen, seed, and plants don’t stay put in agriculture. That’s why contamination by genetically engineered (GE) crops, or GMOs, is a problem for farmers who don’t grow these crops and for the seed and food markets they serve. These operations shoulder testing and prevention costs, and sometimes lose sales.
Why should those at risk shoulder the burden alone?
USDA is accepting public comments following an invitation-only workshop last month on “coexistence.” We watched the event from afar and were disturbed by biased presentations that celebrated GE crops, criticized organic agriculture, and ignored the most important issues at hand, including how to prevent the problem. We believe the USDA must do more to prevent contamination.
Comments are due May 11, 2015
Join us in telling the USDA that:
OSA’s Castelfranco-type chicory. This chicory trial is part of a participatory plant breeding project with Organically Grown Company and regional farmers.
Local food can be scarce in early spring in the Northwest, but thanks to support from two specialty crop block grants administered by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Agriculture, OSA is increasing the diversity of our spring palate.
In partnership with Oregon State University and Washington State University, we are breeding, trialing, and tasting chicories, purple sprouting broccoli, winter storage cabbage, and storage onions. Last week we harvested purple sprouting broccoli and chicories in Oregon, and held a taste test with local farmers and breeding partner Organically Grown Company (OGC). Chicories varied widely in sweetness, bitterness, and texture. The purple sprouting broccoli were evaluated for sweetness, spiciness, and tenderness, as well as the brilliant purple color exhibited by the buds and stems.
U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), have re-introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, legislation that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clearly label GE ingredients. Polls show that more than 90% of Americans support labeling. Furthermore, 64 countries already require it. Meanwhile, competing legislation dubbed the “DARK” act — Denying Americans the Right-to-Know” — was also re-introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to block any federal or state action requiring labeling of GE food, which, among other bad precedents, would reverse state labeling successes. In 2011, the Center for Food Safety submitted a federal petition to the FDA to label GE food. The FDA has yet to respond to the petition, despite receiving more than 1.4 million comments supporting the petition.
Do you support labeling? Tell your members of Congress today.
Spring has arrived, and our staff is busy breaking new ground at a research farm in Chimacum, Washington. This certified organic operation centralizes much of our research, education, and seed production in the region. We’ll be hosting volunteer work parties every Friday beginning this week. If you’re in the area, please join us! In return you’ll receive some hands-on instruction in organic plant breeding, variety trials, and seed saving.
Organic Seed Alliance continues to break ground in other ways, too. Read the full spring newsletter here to learn more.