As part of the Seed Matters initiative, the Organic Farming Research Foundation announced over $12,000 in funding for OSA to develop a participatory plant breeding (PPB) toolkit. The toolkit will include project blueprints, planning worksheets, participant needs and capacities worksheets, and case studies from PPB participants.
Participatory plant breeding is a highly effective breeding method, and a method that is well suited to organic systems. The model involves a close collaboration between farmers and researchers, with much of the breeding work often done in the farmers’ fields. It enables farmers to select and adapt crop varieties to the specific environmental conditions of their regions and to the organic cultural practices that they use.
PPB can successfully leverage the strengths of all participants. However, many PPB projects are challenged by a lack of clear planning and communication. By providing a toolkit to simplify the PPB project planning process and guide the discussions of the participants, this project will increase the success of organic plant breeding projects, leading to more and higher quality varieties bred for organic agriculture.
OSA will develop the toolkit this year and make it available at the 2012 Organic Seed Growers Conference on January 19 – 21. Come to the conference and be among the first to get your hands on this valuable resource!