Innovative programs at California colleges are training our next generation of farmers in organic, sustainable agricultural practices. These students will go on to be some of tomorrow’s farmer leaders. But while they may learn about topics like cover cropping and organic pest control for vegetable production, few have heard much about seed crops as a potential part of farm enterprises, either for commercial sale or on-farm use. For OSA, speaking to these classes is an opportunity to introduce seed production to future farmers.
Through funding from Gaia Fund and Western SARE, I am on the first OSA college seed production speaking tour, giving presentations on basic seed production techniques and on opportunities and challenges in developing organic seed systems. I am talking with classes at Mendocino College in Ukiah, Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, Cabrillo College in Aptos, Cal Poly – San Lois Obispo, and the Agricultural Land-Based Training Program (ALBA) with Hartnell College in Salinas.
So far, the response has been enthusiastic. Having learned more about seed production, it seems the vast majority of the students are now considering producing seed either commercially or for their own use.
This may be the first OSA college speaking tour, but it certainly won’t be the last. The next tour in California is scheduled for this fall. If you know of a class in California that might be interested in having OSA present on seed production, contact Jared Zystro at jared[at]seedalliance.org.