In March, when another serving of kale fails to inspire, purple sprouting broccoli (PSB) pushes from its overwintering state to produce beautiful and tasty florets that will continue to appear until mid-spring. Unlike its late summer, green-headed broccoli cousin, all parts of PSB are delicious, from the individual florets on delicate stem to the tender leaves.
PSB may be new to the Pacific Northwest but this sweet and tender harbinger of spring has been grown in other corners of the world since Roman times. Planted in midsummer, PSB requires the chill of winter to produce its springtime florets. You may ask: Why is PSB just now making its way to the produce section of my grocery store? The varieties of PSB that are commonly available to growers in our region were developed for milder climates and are too sensitive to our cold temperatures that can dip to 14°F (-9°C).
In 2010, OSA and Organically Grown Company began working with Pacific Northwest farmers to develop varieties of PSB that could withstand the variables of winter and thrive once the weather warmed. The result is a locally grown crop that gives our farmers fresh produce to take to market at a time when fields are mostly bare and offers eaters a taste of spring with every delicious bite of purple sprouting broccoli.
The Senate will soon vote on a bill that will prohibit mandatory GMO labeling. This bill, introduced by Sen. Roberts of Kansas, will prohibit states from requiring the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food and would block mandatory labeling efforts. A similar bill already passed the House in July, and recently passed the Senate Agriculture Committee. The bill (S. 2609) now moves to the floor of the Senate.
Here are three things you can do:
1. Call your senators TODAY and ask them to oppose this bill and any attempt to prohibit mandatory labeling of GE food. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. You’ll speak to an operator who will connect you to your Senator’s office. The message is this:
I have the right to know what is in my food. I want mandatory, on-package labeling of GMOs, not voluntary labeling. I urge you to vote against this bill, S. 2609.
2. Share this post with your friends, colleagues, and online social networks.
3. Sign this petition created by Food & Water Watch. By doing so, you’re sending another message to your senators and adding your name to the growing list of people who oppose this bill.
Senators are under tremendous pressure to vote for this bad bill. They need to hear from you TODAY. Read more background here.
Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) are proud to announce the launch of the Seed Internship Program, the first of its kind in the U.S. The program matches individuals who want to learn about seed production with experienced seed farmers. The six-month internships combine hands-on education, farm-based independent study, and classroom and online learning.
“We’re excited to partner with MESA on this new tool for the organic agriculture community,” says OSA’s Executive Director, Micaela Colley. “MESA is an ideal partner for this project as their program and expertise focuses on facilitating internships. They also bring extensive experience in outreach to Spanish-speaking communities.”
This winter newsletter serves as our 2015 annual report. We hope you’ll enjoy reading about our tremendous work last year, including successes that are only possible thanks to a number of collaborations with farmers, universities, and seed advocates like you.
We hope you’ll help us start the year strong with a tax-deductible gift today — at whatever level you can afford. The organic seed community is diverse, strong, and growing. Thank you for being a part of it. And thank you for your support.
Organic Seed Alliance’s (OSA) 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference drew a record turnout last weekend, with more than 500 participants attending the event in Corvallis, Oregon, from February 4 – 6, 2016, and an additional 330 people joining the conference via live webinar. Participants represented 34 states, 10 countries, and 20 universities. Conference co-hosts included Oregon State University, Washington State University, and eOrganic.
The biennial conference is the largest event focused solely on organic seed in North America. More than 80 experts presented on specific topics under the categories of organic plant breeding, organic seed production, enterprise development, and policy.