Learn On-Farm Plant Breeding with Dr. John Navazio

According to Northwest author and grower, Carol Deppe, “All gardeners and farmers should be plant breeders. Developing new vegetable varieties doesn’t require a specialized education, a lot of land, or even a lot of time.” However, successful plant breeding does take the knowledge to discern which to plants keep for seed and why, along with some techniques to maintain purity.

To help northwest farmers and gardeners grow the best vegetables possible and save healthy, improved seed from season to season, WSU Snohomish County Extension is bringing the region’s foremost authority on organic plant breeding and seed saving to Everett for a one-day workshop.

We invite farmers, gardeners, and agricultural students to join us for a workshop on the Fundamentals of On-Farm Plant Breeding with Organic Seed Alliance Senior Scientist and Washington State University Seed Extension Specialist Dr. John Navazio and Michaela Coley, executive director for Organic Seed Alliance (OSA). The workshop will be held Wednesday, March 20, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in McCollum Park at WSU Snohomish County Extension’s Cougar Auditorium, 600 128th ST SE, Everett, WA.

You’ll learn how to improve vegetable quality through careful seed selection and improvement as well as how to select for reproductive fitness, yield, disease resistance, and improved performance under adverse conditions. Dr. Navazio will share his knowledge on seed growing basics, sourcing germplasm, and conducting variety trials, as well as basic variety improvement techniques for inbreeding and outbreeding crops. In addition, all attendees will receive a copy of Dr. Navazio’s recent book The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production, itself a $50 value. Visit http://tinyurl.com/SeedGrower to learn about the book.

By participating in the workshop, growers will have an opportunity to be part of upcoming OSA variety improvement research. Prior experience in basic seed growing is helpful. We suggest reviewing OSA’s online tutorials on seed production and saving before the workshop: www.seedalliance.org/Publications/

John Navazio, Ph.D. is both the Senior Scientist for OSA and a Plant Breeding and Seed Specialist for Washington State University Extension. John trains farmers, university students and others in organic seed production and the fundamentals of participatory, on-farm plant breeding for organic systems. His breeding work includes increasing genetic breadth in a number of vegetable crops for their nutritional quality, flavor, texture, ability to scavenge nutrients, compete with weeds, and resist heat and drought. John develops participatory breeding projects with farmers across North America to improve crop germplasm for regional seed independence.

Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance Executive Director manages participatory plant breeding, research and education projects with farmers, university researchers and other seed professionals. She is chair of the biennial, national Organic Seed Growers Conference, and has authored several educational publications covering topics on organic seed production, on-farm crop improvement and variety trialing and teaches workshops on seed related topics.

This workshop is offered at the discounted rate of $60.00 thanks to support from a WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, Organic Seed Alliance, and Greenbank Farm Ag Training Center. Registration includes instruction, materials, box lunch, and a copy of The Organic Seed Grower.

Register online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/321111. You can also download the form at snohomish.wsu.edu  and mail with your check. For registration information, contact Karie Christensen at (425) 357-6039 or e-mail christensen4@wsu.edu. For more information on the workshop, contact Andrew Corbin, corbina@wsu.edu, (425) 357-6012.

Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Evidence of non-compliance may be reported through your local Extension Office. Persons with a disability requiring special accommodation can request accommodation 21 days before training at (425) 338.2400. If accommodation is not requested in advance, we cannot guarantee availability on-site.


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