Seed Digest (February 19 – March 4, 2011)

Mandatory Labeling of GMOs is Long Overdue The final results for MSNBC’s poll last week that asked: “Do you believe genetically modified foods should be labeled?” show 96% of respondents want labeling. This overwhelming support for labeling of GMO food ingredients is not surprising. For the last decade other polls have shown similar results, like this recent poll by CBS and the New York Times that found 87% of respondents want labeling and a 2001 ABC News poll that found 93% want the government to require mandatory labeling. Make these poll results known! Contact your members in Congress (find your Senators and Representatives) and ask President Obama to stand behind his campaign pledge to support the mandatory labeling of GMOs.

NOVIC: Breeding in Response to Farmers’ Needs Growing Magazine features the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC) in an article titled, “Collaborative and Organic.” Jim Myers, professor of horticulture at Oregon State University, manages NOVIC. He listed a few advantages to the project: “I think it gives us a broad set of environments and many environments in one year for testing our breeding materials. That’s always a problem with breeders. It takes a lot of resources to run a trial. My rule of thumb is to have at least nine year-locations of data before I release a variety. That could be like three locations in three years, or one location in nine years or some combination. You need that multi-environment data to really understand how varieties behave.”

Farmer Reflects on the Promise of Participatory Breeding
Tom Willey of T&D Willey Farms reflects on his trip to Organicology earlier this month and lessons learned in the important role he and other farmers play in “recapturing immensely valuable” varieties. This blog post is cross-posted from EcoFarm.

Gettin’ Schooled in Seed Production Organic Seed Alliance hosted a hugely successful Organic Seed Intensive at the 2011 Organicology conference. Over 60 attendees were able to sharpen their seed skills thanks to 8 hours of in-depth workshops on topics like seed climatic considerations, seed disease, and seed quality, as well as seed crop specific workshops on onions, beets and chard, brassicas, carrots, lettuce, and vine crops. The intensive featured world-class experts on organic seed production from many parts of the seed industry, including OSA’s own John Navazio, Jodi Lew-Smith from High Mowing Seeds, Joel Reiten from Seeds of Change, and Don Tipping from Siskiyou Seeds.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Save the date for these two events:

Mother Earth News Fair (Seattle, WA) June 4 – 5, 2011

6th Organic Seed Growers Conference (Port Townsend, WA) January 19 – 21, 2012

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