Over 700,000 People Tell Government to Block Seed Mergers

seedindustryAs the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee meets today to examine consolidation in the agriculture seed and chemical industry, nine groups have submitted petitions signed by 708,000 people urging the Department of Justice and elected officials to block several pending mergers that would further consolidate the market for seeds and agricultural chemicals. The pending mergers between Dow-DuPont, Syngenta-ChemChina and Bayer-Monsanto would further increase the control that just a few companies maintain over seeds – the basic building blocks of the food system.

The organizations point out that allowing additional mergers among the biggest players in the already consolidated seed and chemical market will stifle innovation in seed development and worsen the problem of limited diversity and resilience in our seed supply, leaving farmers with fewer options and higher costs.

The organizations joining the call to block these mega-mergers include SumofUs, Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club, Pesticide Action Network, Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, Rural Advancement Foundation International and Clif Bar Family Foundation/Seed Matters.

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We Have a New Executive Director!

cara_headshot_2016We’re proud to announce Cara Loriz as our new executive director!

Cara joins OSA this month with an impressive background in nonprofit development; small business management and public advocacy; and environmental education, consulting, and writing. Micaela Colley, our previous director, will remain on staff in a new role.

Cara most recently worked as the executive director of Sylvestor Manor, a nonprofit educational farm located on Shelter Island, New York, where she managed the day-to-day farm and program operations. She holds degrees in geology and technical writing, and taught environmental science and geology in California, Utah, and Ohio. She also served as editor of the local newspaper on Shelter Island, New York, before joining the nonprofit farm world. She and her husband Mike moved to Port Townsend in 2015.

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Special Community Field Day and Variety Tasting

24753258886_9cf02b91dd_z-1Join us for a community field day and variety tasting on September 26th, 2016, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Chimacum Farm Collaborative located at the Finnriver Orchard.

The event celebrates the second annual harvest at our Washington research farm, which serves as the hub of our Pacific Northwest organic plant breeding, seed education, and variety trial program. Partners from Washington State University (WSU) will join the event to discuss the OSA-WSU Organic Germplasm Consortium and report on local quinoa breeding efforts.

Participants will have a chance to look at our research during a one-hour field tour beginning at 4:30 p.m. The field tour will also cover the importance of regional seed systems and why increasing access to organic seed is important to farmers, the communities they feed, and the environment.

Finnriver Cidery will be open for no-host tastings and purchases of cider at 4:00 p.m. A variety tasting and chef-showcase will begin at 5:30 p.m.

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Learn How to Grow Seed Commercially in California

pepper-eval-closeupJoin OSA and the Northern California Seed Hub for this two-day training on how to incorporate seed production in your diversified farm plan. OSA’s Jared Zystro and Steve Peters, along with Ellen Bartholomew of Golden Rule and Jamie Chevalier of Bountiful Gardens, will cover the following for this hands-on event:

  • Seed production biology
  • Hands-on seed harvesting and cleaning
  • Choosing seed crops for your system and climate
  • Managing population size and isolation distance
  • Conducting variety trials
  • Basic on-farm breeding techniques
  • Seed production economics and finding markets for your seed

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Join Us for a Southeast Variety Trial Field Day

SE-update-field-day copyOSA and Cornell University will host an evaluation field day of melons, cucumbers, and summer squash varieties at Ramblerill Farm in southern Orange County, North Carolina, on August 11, 2016. The field day will highlight cucurbit varieties that have shown resistance to Downy Mildew over the last three years of the Eastern Sustainable Organic Cucurbit (ESOCuc) research project. Helping growers identify appropriate varieties is key to increasing the production and profitability of organic cucurbits across the region. The trials we’ll walk through for this field day are part of a larger variety trial network and participatory plant breeding effort evaluating varieties on organic farms and research stations in Georgia, Alabama, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina, the first of its kind to focus on organic cucurbits across multiple states. We hope to see you there!

When: Thursday, August 11, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Ramblerill Farm, 913 Arthur Minnis Road, Hillsborough, North Carolina
Cost: Free

The event is free and registration is not required. For additional information, contact Tony Kleese at (919) 622-5897 or by email.

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