Organic Seed Alliance’s (OSA) 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference drew a record turnout last week, with 450 participants attending the event in Corvallis, Oregon, from January 30 – February 1, 2014, and an additional 400 people joining the conference via live webinar. The biennial conference is the largest event focused solely on organic seed in North America.
More than 70 experts presented on specific topics under the categories of organic plant breeding, organic seed production, enterprise development, and policy. Diverse members of the organic community gathered for two days of workshops and networking events that delivered practical and inspiring instruction on all things organic seed. Participants travelled from across the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia.
This year’s conference theme – Innovation in the Field – recognized that some of the most impactful innovation starts in the hands of farmers, and expands through collaboration with public plant breeders, seed companies, organic food companies, students, and others who understand that organic seed is critical to the success of organic agriculture. The theme also acknowledged that innovative organic agricultural practices hold great potential for addressing environmental and food security issues, while meeting the demand for healthy food.
“Participants saw examples of innovation in the ideas, projects, and stories shared at this conference,” says Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance’s executive director. “There is a groundswell of support for organic seed. The growing interest and participation in our conference is good evidence that our community is not only growing, but thriving.”
“Together we are capable of fulfilling our vision of robust organic food systems that start with organic seed,” Colley adds.
More than 100 participants kicked off the conference with a tour of organic seed production in the Willamette Valley. The tour bus stopped for presentations and field visits at Stalford Seed Farm/American Grass Seed Company/Greenwillow Grains, Gathering Together Farm, Wild Garden Seed, and Oregon State University.
In conjunction with eOrganic, six sessions were offered free and open to the public as live webinars. The recordings will soon be available at www.extension.org.
Proceedings from the 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference are available for free download on OSA’s website at www.seedalliance.org.
Organic Seed Alliance advances the ethical development and stewardship of the genetic resources of agricultural seed
* * *