One Year After GE Wheat Contamination & Still No Answers


One Year After GE Wheat Contamination, Wheat Farmers and Advocates Demand Immediate Action from USDA

May 29, 2014—On the one-year anniversary of the Department of Agriculture’s announcement of finding an unapproved, genetically engineered (GE) wheat in an Oregon field, farmers and allies are demanding an end to the approval of GE traits until measures are adopted to protect non GE-farmers and their markets from contamination by GE crops. A 2013 FOIA request uncovered up to 483 total field trial violations, demonstrating the serious potential for future contamination episodes.

“We’re still waiting for answers,” says Clint Lindsey, an Oregon wheat grower whose shipments were put on hold last year after the unapproved wheat was found. “Crop genes move in the environment and cannot be fully contained, yet USDA continues to approve experimental wheat trials. We deserve assurances that our markets won’t be halted again and put at risk.”

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Understanding the NOP Seed Rule & Sourcing Organic Seed

nop_logoPlease join us for an important organic seed webinar on June 6, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. EDT, 10:00 a.m. CDT, 9:00 a.m. MDT, 8:00 a.m. PDT.

The webinar, titled, “Understanding the National Organic Program Seed Rule and Sourcing Organic Seed,” is designed for organic certifiers, inspectors, and operations. It is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.

Register today.

The webinar will cover the availability of organic seed, as well as the National Organic Program’s 2013 guidance that aimed to clarify the organic seed regulatory requirement. Presenters will share their perspectives on challenges in enforcing this requirement, and recommendations for encouraging increased sourcing of organic seed. Finally, participants will be introduced to tools and resources that support organic seed sourcing and production. This webinar is supported by a contract from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program.


Kristina Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance, Director of Advocacy and Communications

Emily Brown Rosen, USDA National Organic Program Standards Division, Agricultural Marketing Specialist

Zea Sonnabend, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), Organic Farm Inspector and Materials Policy Advisor; National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)

Cullen Carns-Hilliker, Midwest Organic Services Association, Certification Specialist

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Upcoming Course in WA: Breeding Self-Pollinating Crops

Navazio Headshot

We hope you’ll join us for a course on breeding self-pollinating crops on June 16, 2014, in Greenbank, WA.

Register today.

“Breeding Self-Pollinating Crops” is a day-long advanced course with experienced plant breeder Dr. John Navazio of Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and Washington State University. Participants will learn how to traditionally breed and improve self-pollinated crops under organic conditions. The course will cover the theory and practice of plant breeding, including a detailed description of how to plan and implement your own breeding project. There will be both classroom and field instruction, including an observation of a planted escarole breeding project at Greenbank Farm. This course is intended to help farmers and gardeners improve and/or develop new self-pollinated crop varieties by giving them the skills and confidence they need.

Participants are expected to have attended a previous “Fundamentals of On-Farm Plant Breeding” course from OSA or have some background in seed saving and plant selection. Prior to the course, we recommend participants review OSA’s ”Introduction to On-farm Organic Plant Breeding,” available for free download here. This course is part of Greenbank Farm’s Organic Seed Project and is funded through the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

When: Monday, June 16, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $15 per person includes day-long course and lunch
Location: Greenbank Farm, 765 Wonn Rd A201, Greenbank, WA 98253
Register: Please register here prior to the event

Have questions? Please contact OSA at (360) 385-7192.

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Join OSA in Seattle Tonight!

broccoli_mic2_smallJoin OSA’s Micaela Colley tonight (May 13) in Seattle for a Sustainable Path Foundation seminar at Town Hall. Speakers will focus on exciting developments in the Pacific Northwest region’s agricultural landscape and the impacts on eaters. Seminar participants will:

• Hear about the latest work to stem genetic erosion of agricultural crops.

• Learn how plant breeding is the foundation for our heirlooms of tomorrow.

• Discover why the Puget Sound Food Hub is part of the solution.

• Understand the impact consumers have on the Pacific Northwest regional food shed.

Speakers include Micaela Colley, Executive Director of Organic Seed Alliance; David Granatstein, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist, WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources; and Lucy Norris, Director, Puget Sound Food Hub.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the seminar begins at 7:00 p.m. Cost is $5.00 at the door for general public.

Visit the Sustainable Path Foundation website for more information.

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DEADLINE EXTENDED: Organic Ag Research Symposium

NOVIC seed packets (peas)Call for Papers
Organic Agriculture Research Symposium
February 25 – 26, 2015
La Crosse, WI

The deadline for paper submissions has been extended to June 30, 2014.

The Organic Agriculture Research Symposium invites submissions for proposed research papers to be presented. The international symposium will take place immediately before the Organic Farming Conference organized by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES). Co-sponsored by the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS), the conference invites researchers from all disciplines related to organic farming and food systems, and other systems of sustainable agriculture that employ techniques compatible with organic standards.

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