Help Us Cultivate a Resilient Food System

hand-image-quoteAs the climate changes and our farms experience increasingly severe drought, storms, pests, and disease, we’re actually being handed a tremendous learning opportunity.

By knocking our food systems off balance, nature is not only showing us where we need to improve, but also how to do it.

Resilient ecosystems, or those that bounce back quickly in the face of climate chaos, have a lot to teach us about successfully adapting to changing conditions. Research shows that resilient agricultural ecosystems are bio-diverse ecosystems. At Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) we take that knowledge to heart by incorporating diversity into every level of our work.

Please help us cultivate a resilient food system that includes diverse seed stakeholders and organically bred seed varieties with a tax-deductible donation.
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Registration Now Open for the 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference

logo-osgc2016-no-dateRegistration for the 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference is now open!

Join OSA and co-hosts Oregon State University, Washington State University, and eOrganic for the largest organic seed event in the U.S. Expand your seed knowledge and skills, hear the latest in scientific research, and discover new resources and tools that help you breed, grow, and sell more seed. Together we are changing our food system one seed at a time. Join us for this unique opportunity to trade knowledge, techniques, and ideas that strengthen our organic seed community — it’s the only event of its kind!

Our biennial conference brings together hundreds of farmers, plant breeders, seed companies, food companies, organic certifiers, policy advocates, and other stakeholders for two days of presentations, panel discussions, and networking events. This is a unique opportunity to trade knowledge, techniques, and ideas that strengthen our rapidly growing organic seed community. The conference week includes an agenda of over 80 experts in their fields and more than two-dozen sessions, a daylong organic seed production intensive, a tour of organic seed in the Willamette Valley, and a number of social events, including a vegetable tasting from our trials. You can also expect good organic food, live music, celebrations, and great networking opportunities.

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First-Ever Northwest Organic Plant Breeding Symposium

IMG_5988OSA will host a symposium this winter to identify opportunities and priorities for advancing organic plant breeding in the Pacific Northwest. The symposium will be held in conjunction with our 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference on February 3, 2016, in Corvallis, Oregon.

“The long-term goal of this symposium is to increase farmer access to regionally appropriate vegetable, grain, and pulse seed well-suited for organic production,” says Micaela Colley, executive director of Organic Seed Alliance. “Farmers who follow organic practices must focus more on prevention and resistance because they have fewer inputs at their disposal. They need crop varieties developed specifically for low-input systems – crops that mitigate pest and disease pressures, and that are adapted to their Pacific Northwest conditions and climates.”

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Montana Organic Seed Workshop to be Held Dec. 3

NOVIC seed packets (peas)OSA is leading a workshop for specialty crop growers interested in learning how to conduct organic variety trials on their farm. The workshop is offered as part of the Montana Organic Association’s annual conference on December 3, 2015, at the Holiday Inn in Bozeman, MT, and is co-sponsored by Lake County Community Development Corporation in Ronan, MT.

The instructor, OSA’s Steve Peters, has extensive experience in organic research, including past work at the Rodale Institute and Seeds of Change.

The workshop is geared toward organic specialty crop growers interested in learning how to conduct variety trials on their farm. Variety trials help growers identify the best performing varieties available for their local growing conditions. Choosing the right crops and varieties for local climates, field conditions, and markets can significantly minimize loss and increase agricultural success. For certified organic growers who are required to use organic seed when commercially available, variety trials are an important tool for identifying new or existing organic varieties that perform well on their farm.

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OSA Community Helps Evaluate and Celebrate Fall Harvest

OSA's annual research farm field day attracted more than 60 community members to help evaluate and celebrate the fall harvest

OSA’s annual research farm field day attracted more than 60 participants to help evaluate and celebrate the fall harvest

Our first annual research farm field day celebrated the fall harvest this week. Farmers, seed companies, Washington State University (WSU) research and education partners, and our local community of gardeners and eaters in Chimicum, Washington, came out to celebrate and taste the fall harvest. We hosted field tours and tastings of more than a dozen crops from our variety trials and participatory plant breeding projects. Farmers and seed companies spent a chilly morning scrutinizing the crops and discussing field research from the 2015 growing season.

One highlight of the morning included farmers, seed companies, and our local food co-op’s produce manager actively participating in plant breeding decisions. They helped select plants that exhibited particular traits in striped roasting peppers. The peppers are a breeding project of NOVIC partner Micheal Mazourek of Cornell University. Growers picked their favorite plants based on yield, strong stature, and attractive variegation on the leaves and fruits. Seed from the peppers will be shipped back to Michael as part of this participatory breeding project.

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