Organic Seed Alliance wants to thank you for all you do to help build an abundant, diverse, and secure seed supply for organic agriculture. Together we are advancing forward-looking solutions through research, education, and advocacy. It’s an exciting time. We’ve put together this slideshow: Five Reasons to Be Thankful for Organic Seed. Please share it with your family and friends this holiday season, and add why you are thankful for organic seed.
Organic Seed Alliance (OSA), with co-hosts Washington State University, Oregon State University, and eOrganic, will hold its 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference in Corvallis, OR, from January 30 – February 1, 2014. The conference begins with a full-day tour of seed enterprises in the Willamette Valley, home to a premier seed-growing region and industry. The two-day conference that follows features presentations, panel discussions, and networking events around the theme: Innovation in the Field.
The event is the largest in North America to focus solely on organic seed systems. Session topics range from organic plant breeding, seed production, and distribution, to enhancing policies that support the growth and integrity of the organic seed sector.
The conference offers more than two-dozen sessions ranging from agronomic issues on the farm (seed production and disease management); breeding topics (university projects and participatory models); economic matters (organic seed markets and marketing); and policy discussions (strategies and tools for advancing the organic seed sector).
Presenters are leaders in their field and represent diverse regions, crop types, and farming scales. More than 400 farmers, plant breeders, organic certifiers, policy advocates, and seed and food companies, among others, are expected to attend.
Your support has been critical to our success, and has allowed us to teach hundreds of seed courses, publish more than a dozen professional seed guides, host the nation’s only organic seed conference, and influence critical seed policy.
Moving forward, we remain true to our mission, and farmers are still at the heart of our work. Farmers need access to — and the skills to produce — seed that performs best on their farm. In the words of Jim McGreevy, a farmer in Royal City, Washington:
Organic Seed Alliance has been an indispensable resource for our farm, from conducting field trials to producing seed. Organic seed is the cornerstone of our vegetable production. Without varieties that have been bred and selected for organic growing conditions, we would be left with low-vigor crops adapted to high-input farms.
Jim is just one of many who joined our Farmer Seed Stewardship Initiative this year. The initiative engages farmers who recognize their role as stewards of seed and seed knowledge. These farmers want to expand their skills and involvement in our cutting edge research, education, and advocacy — the demand for which grows each year.
Participants will learn the fundamental skills for producing seed crops on their organic farm. Topics of instruction include the biology of seed production, seed harvesting and cleaning, choosing appropriate seed crops for your system and climate, maintaining the genetic integrity of varieties with appropriate population sizes and isolation distances, conducting variety trials, and basic on-farm breeding techniques. This course includes both classroom and field components.
Humboldt Agricultural Center is located at 5630 South Broadway in Eureka, CA. The course begins at 9:00 a.m. both days. The cost of the event is $30 and includes lunch on Sunday and snacks.
OSA will host a field day and training for farmers at Riverdog Farm on December 7, 2013, to share progress in our Northern California organic variety trials, which include over 30 varieties of red beets, Savoy spinach, and Nantes carrots. Participants will also learn simple techniques that will allow them to conduct useful, accurate variety trials on their own farms.
The varieties in the trial include well-known standards well as new varieties, all selected to perform well on organic farms. These trials are part of a larger variety trial effort evaluating over 90 vegetable varieties on eight organic farms across Northern California. Supported by Columbia Foundation and Gaia Fund, these trials are helping organic farmers identify varieties that are vigorous and resilient in organic systems, while having excellent appearance and flavor.