Organic Seed Growers Conference Webinars Now Available

eOrganic_tableWebinars from Organic Seed Alliance’s (OSA) 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference are now available for viewing. The archived series can be found on eOrganic’s YouTube channel at

The webinar series was live streamed from the conference earlier this month and attracted 400 online participants. The series features six sessions covering specific topics in the areas of organic plant breeding, organic seed production, and policy. The series also includes a welcome address from Organic Seed Alliance and a keynote address from Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds.

Descriptions of the six series are below (after the jump).

Why Organic Seed Matters and How to Meet Demand
Organic seed that meets the diverse agronomic challenges and market needs of organic farmers is fundamental to their success and the food system they supply. The organic community has seen tremendous progress in the expansion of organic seed availability. Still, most organic farmers are planting non-organic seed. This session focuses on improving access to, and the use of, organic seed. Hear from Theresa Podoll of Prairie Road Organic Seed, Erica Renaud of Vitalis Organic Seeds, Zea Sonnabed of CCOF and the National Organic Standards Board, and Chet Boruff of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA).

Research Update: Small Grains and Corn
The scientific field of organic plant breeding continues to expand. This session will give an overview of innovative research being conducting today in small grains and sweet corn. Hear reports from Hannah Walters of Washington State University, Brook Brouwer of Washington State University, Jonathan Spero of Lupine Knoll Farm, Amadeus Zschunke of Sativa Rheinau, Lisa Kissing Kucek of Cornell University, and Adrienne Shelton, Graduate Student, University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Research Update: Vegetable Crops
There are exciting advances in breeding vegetables for organic production systems. This session gives an overview of innovative research being conducting today in vegetable crops. Hear reports from Phil Simon of University of Wisconsin – Madison, Laurie McKenzie of Organic Seed Alliance, John Navazio of Organic Seed Alliance, Lori Hoagland of Purdue University, and Michael Mazourek of Cornell University.

Unpacking the Cell Fusion Debate
Last year the National Organic Program (NOP) clarified its position on the use of cell fusion in organic plant breeding, drawing attention to an ongoing debate involving what should and should not be an excluded method in the organic standards. This session includes both technical and philosophical discussion on the current use of cell fusion in the development of organic seed, the NOP’s current policy, and what different breeding methods mean for the organic movement and biodiversity. Hear from John Navazio of Organic Seed Alliance, Jodi Lew-Smith of High Mowing Organic Seeds, Jim Myers of Oregon State University, and Zea Sonnabend of CCOF and the National Organic Standards Board.

Pollinator Conservation Strategies for Organic Seed Producers
This session provides organic seed producers with the latest science-based information on maximizing crop yields through the conservation of native pollinators, while at the same time helping them to reduce the risk of out-crossing with non-organic crop varieties. Specific topics include the ecology of specialty seed crop pollinating insects, foraging behaviors and flight range of key native bee groups (and the impact of those foraging ranges on crop isolation), bee-friendly farming practices, development of pollinator habitat on working farms, accessing USDA technical and financial resources for pollinator conservation, and more. Hear from Eric Mader of The Xerces Society.

Managing Seed-Borne Diseases in Seed Production
Production of high-quality, pathogen-free seed is particularly important in organic seed crops given the very limited chemical options available for certified organic production and the risk of producing and distributing contaminated seed lots. Learn about managing diseases in seed production with various research examples from the vegetable seed crop pathology program at Washington State University, including hot water treatment for seed-borne diseases. Hear from Lindsey du Toit of Washington State University – Mount Vernon Research & Extension Center and Jodi Lew-Smith of High Mowing Organic Seeds.

Proceedings from the 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference are also available for free on OSA’s website at

Be sure to follow updates on planning for the 2016 Organic Seed Growers Conference, and other upcoming events, by visiting OSA’s websiteSeed Broadcast blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.

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