OSA Welcomes Mary Black to Staff

Mary Black photo_finalWe are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our team. This spring, we welcomed Mary Black as OSA’s operations manager. Mary holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. She spent over ten years working as a litigation paralegal in Seattle before attending law school at Seattle University. Most recently, Mary worked as a compliance manager at a tech startup and helped the company expand into new markets. When not running the OSA office in Port Townsend, she spends as much time as possible playing outside at her home in the Olympic Peninsula, where she most enjoys sharing her love of nature with her young children. She runs a small organic heirloom seed company with her husband and loves working with wool in just about any capacity: knitting, spinning, dyeing, and felting.

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New Businesses Supporting Organic Seed

hands-beans-supportThe importance of our work is becoming visible to a larger audience and we couldn’t be more excited.

Many thanks to all of you who are current donors or have supported OSA with a donation in the past. Your financial support is imperative to our continued work in advancing the ethical development and stewardship of seed.

A special thanks to the following businesses and organizations who have approached us this season to support our work.

• Artist Analisa Barelli donates a portion of her online sales at SHOPAB to OSA and other organizations.

Pura Vida is creating and selling a custom bracelet to support OSA. A portion of the bracelet sales will be donated to OSA. They’ll be available online soon at Pura Vida.

For the Love of All Things (FLOAT) is also creating wearable art to support OSA’s work. This autumn for one week, special organic seed inspired t-shirts will be available at Float.org and a portion of sales will go directly to OSA.

Does your organization or business have a unique way in which it would like to support our work? If so, contact Micaela Colley directly.

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State of Organic Seed — New Survey Just Announced

corn-colored-seederWe are excited to announce the distribution of our 2014 organic producer seed survey. This national survey is conducted every five years to monitor organic seed availability and use, challenges in sourcing organic seed, and organic plant breeding needs, among other important topics. The data collected will inform the organic community’s understanding of the barriers and opportunities in building the availability, quality, and integrity of organic seed.

Findings from this survey will be included in an updated version of our State of Organic Seed report (first published in 2011). The report will be made public with detailed recommendations for improving access to seed that is optimal for U.S. organic agriculture.

If you are a certified organic crop producer, please take the survey. Your participation is essential to this national assessment. Even if you do not currently use organic seed, we encourage you to take the survey.

Take the survey here.

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Webinar on Keeping Seed Crops Healthy

Bauta Family Initiative logoThis spring, OSA’s John Navazio presented in a webinar titled “Keeping Your Seed Crops Healthy” with Jodi Lew-Smith of High Mowing Organic Seeds and Linda Gilkeson of West Coast Gardening. The webinar includes instruction on rogueing (removing of a small fraction of undesirable plants from a crop population) and selection methods, and identifying and reducing seed crop diseases.

The webinar, now available as an online archive, was hosted by The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security as part of their “Growing Good Seed: The Fundamentals” webinar series.

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Strengthening Regional Seed Systems One Course at a Time

greenbank-classEarlier this month, OSA’s John Navazio and Laurie McKenzie gathered at Greenbank Farm with a group of enthusiastic farmers, students, interns, and instructors to teach a course on breeding self-pollinated crops. Greenbank Farm is a community-founded nonprofit that manages 151 acres of publicly-owned space and a historic farm located on Whidbey Island in Washington. OSA and Greenbank Farm have worked on a number of collaborative projects over the years.

Participants learned basic biological requirements for plant breeding and seed production, and specifically how to work with self-pollinating crops. In this course, like other courses we offer, participants learned through both classroom lecture and time in the field. We offer these specialized courses throughout the country as part of our work to strengthen regional seed systems.

This course was made possible through a Washington State Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant that is also funding an onion and endive trial collaboratively hosted by OSA and our partners at Greenbank Farm.

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