OSA staff recently returned from the Organicology conference in Portland, Oregon, where more than 1,000 people representing all sectors of the organic food chain gathered to discuss – and further create together – a vision for growing the organic sector from the seed up.
Few food and farming conferences aim to inspire interaction between diverse players, where farmers get to know CEOs, organic certifiers visit with food retailers, and policy wonks meet public plant breeders. The event is deliberate cross-pollination at its finest.
OSA helped launch this biennial event in 2009 with our partners – Organically Grown Company, Oregon Tilth, and Sustainable Food Trade Association – because it seemed that few people in the organic food trade were considering the risks involved in expanding the organic sector on a foundation of seed developed for chemical agriculture. Organic farmers need the best seed possible, and that means seed developed for organic agriculture. We need to work collaboratively as a community to ensure organic seed is available and protected.
Join eOrganic for selected live broadcasts from the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium in La Crosse, Wisconsin, on February 25 and 26. This online broadcast is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required, but you only need to register once to attend all the presentations listed here. Come and go as you wish!
Because this is a live event, the broadcast program may be subject to change and exact start and end times cannot be guaranteed. The event will highlight research on organic farming systems, seeds and crop varieties suitable for organic production, holistic livestock care and feeding, soil health, organic markets and more. Researchers from all over the world will present their work at this event. Keynote speaker Chuck Benbrook will deliver “The Benefits of Organic Agriculture: Evidence Based Results.”
The entire conference will not be live, but eOrganic is excited to bring you selections from the program and record them for future viewing in our archive and on the eOrganic YouTube channel.
Register now for the online broadcast.
We hope you’ll join OSA in attending the first-ever Organic Agriculture Research Symposium (OARS). This unique gathering, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and Department of Agronomy, focuses on new and exciting developments in organic farming research. The symposium is on February 25th and 26th in La Crosse, Wisconsin (immediately before the MOSES Organic Farming Conference).
More than 40 presenters from across the U.S. and abroad will share the latest developments in organic farming research, including new crop varieties developed for organic farms, innovations in biological pest management, recent economic data, and advancements in organic livestock care and feeding.
Hearing from farmers about their interest in — and experience with — different plant varieties allows public researchers to carry out relevant plant breeding projects and conduct useful variety trials. These feedback loops are essential to meeting the needs of farmers, especially at the regional level.
That’s why we’re sharing a timely request from our friends at the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society (NPSAS). They’re collecting input to help their researchers choose the top cowpea varieties from ongoing trials. Your input will help them identify which varieties to further evaluate in 2015. NPSAS wants to hear from farmers, gardeners, and scientists who are interested in using cowpeas as cover crops or seed crops.
If you are a grower or scientist in the Northern Plains region, download this cowpea rating sheet that includes performance data and a column to record your votes. NPSAS asks that you choose five varieties, save the file, and email it back to Frank Kutka.
Learn more about the NPSAS’s Farm Breeding Club.
I’m excited to share our annual report with you today, which includes some of our most important successes in 2014. We are making tremendous progress in building regional seed systems, monitoring the state of organic seed at a national level, and, ultimately, protecting and expanding not just the diversity of seed available to farmers, but the knowledge necessary for stewarding seed now and into the future.
In the report you’ll read that our research is resulting in finished varieties that were bred under organic conditions and in partnership with organic farmers and public plant breeders. You’ll also read about our education efforts this year, including the release of seven new publications and a record turnout at our Organic Seed Growers Conference. There’s so much more to tell you, but I’ll let you read it for yourself.
Thanks, as always, for your support — whether that’s helping us spread the word about our work or sending us a donation today.