Farmers and traditional plant breeders have historically played a crucial role in building our nation’s crop base for modern agriculture to thrive and expand. This is why we advocate so passionately for a participatory approach to developing diverse, resilient crops for the future. We work with farmers both in the field and at the federal policy level to ensure they have the seed they need to be successful.
As you’ll read, we published a Participatory Plant Breeding Toolkit earlier this month to facilitate these on-farm projects. Experience shows that participatory breeding is especially effective for developing regionally adapted seed. Many farmers rely on seed that is bred for other regions – seed that no longer meets ever-changing pest and disease pressures or performs well in their local environments.
When regional seed systems are strong, so too are the food systems that rely on them.
OSA’s regional work continues to expand across the country. Some highlights include:
- A Southeast stakeholder assessment found enormous interest in strengthening organic seed networks in the region (see our upcoming events in the Southeast).
- Our California staff set off on a university speaking tour this spring, and launched organic, on-farm variety trials to build off our 2011 regional assessment.
- A two-day course here in Washington that included in-depth instruction and a field tour of our ‘Abundant Bloomsdale’ spinach breeding project.
- An upcoming organic seed assessment in the Midwest. (Don’t miss OSA’s Dr. John Navazio at the Seed Savers Exchange conference on July 20 – 22, 2012, in Decorah, Iowa. His keynote will kick-off this regional project! You can also catch him in Wisconsin in August 2012.)
OSA’s projects start in the field as a convener of local expertise and knowledge. We foster field-based innovation that delivers diverse seed options for a region’s organic community. This is an essential model for productive food systems and the greater global food supply, both now and into the future.
Please invest in regional seed innovation today with your tax-deductible donation to OSA, at any level you can afford.
See you in the field,