Spring Newsletter: Sowing policy change, seed internships, and stronger networks
National Organic Standards Board to Discuss Seed
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will convene in Denver, Colorado, next month for its first biannual meeting of 2017. Among the meeting materials released last week is a proposal to strengthen the National Organic Program's organic seed guidance document (page 105). Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) will be at the meeting to weigh in on this important proposal and to attend the National Organic Coalition's pre-NOSB meeting on April 18. Visit the NOSB's meeting website to review the agenda and register for oral comments. And if you can't attend, don't fret: Written comments can be submitted at this link, but only until March 30.
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Seed Internship Program Accepting Applications
Calling all organic seed producers and students! Applications are being accepted for our Seed Internship Program. The program combines online and classroom learning, farm-based independent study, and real-world experience through a diverse network of family farms. Hosted by OSA and the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), the Seed Internship Program matches individuals who want to learn about seed production with experienced growers. Learn more and apply today.
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In California, Organic Seed Systems are Growing
Organic Seed Alliance hosted the 3rd annual California Organic Seed Summit last month in Montara. The retreat provided an intimate and informal environment for seed producers, breeders, and seed company representatives to connect, share information, and discuss collective actions to advance ethical seed systems in California.
The 34 summit participants engaged in many ways. Growers helped each other troubleshoot production challenges; seed buyers and producers shared their expectations and processes around seed contracts; and plant breeders from OSA, university programs, and private efforts discussed their projects in California. Participants brought small-scale seed cleaning equipment acquired or built by regional tool-sharing hubs supported by OSA. Read more
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Don't Cede Control Over Montana Seed
In direct contradiction to Montana values, the state Senate passed a bill this month that will completely eliminate local control over one of our most valuable natural resources: seed.
Senate Bill 155 takes away the rights of farming communities with sweeping language that preempts local decision-making power. It's an unnecessary corporate solution in search of a problem, and should be soundly rejected by the Legislature and Gov. Steve Bullock. Read OSA's full op-ed.
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Working Around the Calendar to Breed Organic Carrots
Last month, OSA researchers Laurie McKenzie and Micaela Colley joined UW-Madison's Dr. Phil Simon and his research team in El Centro, California, to select carrot roots for seed production and breeding. They selected roots from approximately 1,000 different populations, representing a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes for this season's breeding efforts. Carrot is a biennial crop, producing roots in the first year and seed in the second. Access to a production field in a warm winter climate such as El Centro (also called a winter nursery) provides the opportunity to select roots in the winter and produce seed in the summer, allowing researchers to complete a full cycle of breeding in one year instead of two. Read more
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Organicology Seed Recordings On Demand
Organicology lived up to its reputation last month as one of the most celebratory and educational organic food and farming conferences around. Approximately 900 people from across the trade participated in dozens of workshops, intensives, networking events, and the growing trade show. OSA has collaborated with eOrganic to bring some of these conversations to the broader community through three recorded workshops focused on organic seed. If you weren't able to join us in Portland, Oregon, or were there but missed these seed discussions, find the video recordings at this link. And mark your calendars for the next Organicology! Planning is already underway for the February 14-16, 2019, event.
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Save the Date: 2018 Organic Seed Growers Conference
Mark your calendar to join us for our 9th Organic Seed Growers Conference from February 14-18, 2018, in Corvallis, Oregon. The biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference is a unique opportunity to trade knowledge, techniques, and ideas that strengthen the larger organic seed community. Join hundreds of farmers, plant breeders, researchers, certifiers, food companies, seed companies, and other stakeholders for a full agenda focused solely on organic seed. The call for proposals will be published this spring. Learn more
Is your company or organization interested in becoming a conference sponsor? Your sponsorship is essential to the success of the conference! Become an early bird by April 1st and get even more bang for your buck. View the sponsorship opportunities here and contact Cathleen McCluskeyto learn more.
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Using Biofungicides, Biostimulants and Biofertilizers to Boost Crop Productivity and Help Manage Vegetable Diseases
March 30, 2017 | eOrganic Webinar | Learn more
National Organic Standards Board Spring Meeting
April 19-21, 2017 | Denver, Colorado | Learn more
Organic Seed Intensive
August 10, 2017 | Davis, California | Learn more
Student Organic Seed Symposium
August 11-14, 2017 | Davis, California | Learn more
9th Organic Seed Growers Conference
February 14-17, 2018 | Corvallis, Oregon | Learn more