Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and EcoFarm will host a one-day symposium in Pacific Grove, California, on January 25, 2017. The gathering will bring together farmers, chefs, grocers, wholesalers, plant breeders, and seed growers who have partnered to create new vegetable varieties that fill seasonal gaps, thrive in the field, and shine on the plate. A tasting featuring a range of these vegetable varieties will follow the discussion.
This is a unique opportunity for the entire organic seed supply chain – from field to plate – to learn what the vegetable variety needs are in the field and marketplace. For example, farmers will relay which varieties perform well for them, which are in need of improvement, and which can’t be found in a certified organic form (organic seed is a requirement in the organic rules).
This piece was written by Harwood D. Schaffer and Daryll E. Ray of the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center in Knoxville, TN, and re-published with permission.
In early December 2016, President-Elect Trump’s transition team sent a 75-item questionnaire to the US Department of Energy (DOE) that stirred up concern among the department’s employees and contractors (http://tinyurl.com/h3a63s4). Question 13 asked, “Can you provide a list of all Department of Energy employees or contractors who have attended any Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon meetings? Can you provide a list of when those meetings were [held] and any materials distributed at those meetings, emails associated with those meetings, or materials created by Department employees or contractors in anticipation of or as a result of those meetings?”
We’re happy to announce the release of our most recent regional seed needs assessment. This new report details the organic seed needs of vegetable growers in Montana. The findings are based on a statewide survey conducted earlier this year as part of a bigger project to advance collaborative research, education, and outreach that results in more organic seed options for Montana’s growers.
Organic acreage in Montana continues to increase alongside the national demand for organic products. In a five-year period (2007-2011), organic vegetable acreage in Montana experienced a five-fold increase. The National Organic Program requires that certified producers use organic seed when available. Although the organic specialty seed industry is growing, the supply is still insufficient to fully meet the diverse and regional needs of all growers.
“The supply is especially limited for vegetable seed adapted to Montana’s climate and environmental conditions,” says Karl Sutton, owner of Fresh Roots Farm in Polson. “This reality is a challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity for farmers who want to grow seed organically for their farm or the commercial market.”
Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) released a report today that details variety trial results for storage cabbages, storage onions, overwintering chicories, and overwintering purple sprouting broccoli. The trials were grown in multiple locations on the Olympic Peninsula from 2014 through 2016, with the goal of identifying which of these crop varieties perform best in this Washington region. The trial evaluations focused on agronomic, storage, and culinary qualities.
Washington agriculture excels in producing high-value specialty crops, especially vegetables, during the prime growing seasons, but the organic produce industry remains dependent on imported crops during the winter and early spring months. Farmers are eager to expand their production of overwintering and storage crops to retain customers throughout the winter. Chefs, produce retailers and the general public increasingly demand locally grown vegetables with exceptional flavor and culinary qualities all year long. The off-season represents a significant market opportunity to expand regional production of key vegetable crops.
OSA is in St. Louis this week for the fall meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The agenda includes a number of seed-related discussion documents and proposals, from strengthening the National Organic Program’s (NOP) guidance document on the organic seed requirement to clarifying excluded methods definitions and terminology. OSA will give a formal presentation on Friday that covers our State of Organic Seed, 2016 findings and emphasizes the important role of the NOP and NOSB in supporting more rapid progress in developing seed systems that are responsive to the needs of organic farmers. Find our comments here and follow our timely updates via Twitter.