California Organic Seed Summit participants gather in Fair Oaks. Photo credit: Benjamin Fahrer
Organic Seed Alliance recently hosted the first-ever California Organic Seed Summit at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks. The purpose was to convene organic seed growers and organic seed companies to not just learn from each other, but to create a plan for their collective future. About 30 participants spent two days developing long-term strategies and actions for building organic seed systems in the third largest state.
Although California leads the nation in vegetable seed production, less than half of the vegetable seed planted on organic farms is organic, according to our 2011 State of Organic Seed findings. There is a clear need for more organic seed, and the state’s organic seed growers can help fill the gap. This summit provided the perfect forum for fostering relationships and for creating a plan to actualize a shared vision to improve the availability, diversity, quality, and integrity of organic seed grown in the state.
We’re thrilled to announce that a new text for seed savers will be available this spring — in time for the growing season! — thanks to a collaboration between Seed Savers Exchange and Organic Seed Alliance. Together we’ve written and edited The Seed Garden: The Art and Practice of Seed Saving, which is filled with advice for both gardeners and the more seasoned horticulturist on saving seed from your favorite open-pollinated plants. The book is beautiful, combining stunning photographs with clear instructions on how to save seed from more than a dozen crop types. Our hope is that the book makes seed saving accessible to everyone, while helping readers develop a deeper understanding of the importance of practicing this important act as a way to conserve and improve the genetic diversity of our seed heritage.
Here’s an interview about the book with the executive director of Seed Savers Exchange. You can order The Seed Garden here (ships spring of 2015).
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.