2014 Conference Highlights



Webinar Archive


Anniversary Address from Matthew Dillon of Seed Matters (video)




The 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference drew a record turnout, with 450 participants attending the event in Corvallis, Oregon, from January 30 – February 1, 2014, and an additional 400 people joining the conference via live webinar.


More than 70 experts presented on specific topics under the categories of organic plant breeding, organic seed production, enterprise development, and policy. Diverse members of the organic community gathered for two days of workshops and networking events that delivered practical and inspiring instruction on all things organic seed. Participants travelled from across the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia.


The 2014 conference theme – Innovation in the Field – recognized that some of the most impactful innovation starts in the hands of farmers, and expands through collaboration with public plant breeders, seed companies, organic food companies, students, and others who understand that organic seed is critical to the success of organic agriculture. The theme also acknowledged that innovative organic agricultural practices hold great potential for addressing environmental and food security issues, while meeting the demand for healthy food.


More than 100 participants kicked off the conference with a tour of organic seed production in the Willamette Valley. The tour bus stopped for presentations and field visits at Stalford Seed Farm/American Grass Seed Company/Greenwillow Grains, Gathering Together Farm, Wild Garden Seed, and Oregon State University.




Thursday, January 30th

7:15a - 8:30a Ballroom Pre-Conference Tour check-in and breakfast


8:30a - 6:00p Off-site Pre-Conference Tour


4:30p - 8:45p Foyer Conference check-in


7:00p - 8:45p Foyer Trade show set-up


6:30p - 8:00p McMenamins Pub in Corvallis Meet n' Greet Mixer hosted by OSGATA (email Holli Cederholm for details)


Friday, January 31th

6:30a - 7:00a  Living Room Chi Kung with Andy Bennett


7:30a - 8:45a Ballroom Breakfast


9:00a - 10:30a Session I

Willamette Breeding Crops in and for Organic Soils

Room 114 Fundamentals of Seed Production

Ballroom Why Organic Seed Matters and How to Meet the Demand (WEBINAR)

Room 111 Finding the Right Scale and Market for Your Seed Production


11:00a - 11:30p Ballroom OSA welcome address: Innovation in the Field


11:30a - 1:00p Ballroom Lunch


1:30p - 3:00p Session II

Ballroom Research Update: Small Grains and Corn (WEBINAR)

Room 114 Innovative Models of Seed Production in Unheated High Tunnels

Willamette GE Contamination Avoidance and Testing Protocols

Room 111 New Models of Seed Enterprise


3:00p - 3:30p Coffee and snack break


3:30p - 5:00p Session III

Ballroom Research Update: Vegetable Crops (WEBINAR)

Willamette Seed Cleaning Equipment

Room 111 Untying the GMO Gordian Knot -- Time for Organic to Act

Room 114 International Panel on Developing Seed Networks and Movements


5:00p - 7:00p Trade show


5:15p - 6:00p Willamette Breeders to Eaters Roundtable


6:00p - 7:00p  Living Room Variety trial tastings sponsored by Organic Farming Research Foundation


7:00p - 8:30p  Ballroom Dinner with address by Matthew Dillon of Seed Matters


9:15p - 10:45p  Ballroom Live music by Symbiotic Quintet


Saturday, February 1st

6:30a - 7:00a  Living Room Chi Kung with Andy Bennett


7:30a - 8:45a Ballroom Breakfast


9:00a - 10:30a Session I

Willamette Biodynamic Perspectives on Breeding Crops

Room 111 Integrating Seed Production into the Small Farm Business Plan

Ballroom Unpacking the Cell Fusion Debate (WEBINAR)

Room 114 Germplasm Collection and Conservation


11:00a - 12:00p Ballroom Keynote: Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds


12:00p - 1:00p Ballroom Lunch


1:30p - 3:00p Session II

Room 111 Models of Participatory Plant Breeding

Ballroom Pollinator Conservation Strategies for Organic Seed Producers (WEBINAR)

Willamette Free As In Speech, Not As In Beer: Open-Source Seed Initiative

Room 114 Organic Seeds & Breeds in Federal Policy: Update from DC


3:00p - 3:30p Coffee and snack break


3:30p - 5:00p Session III

Willamette Breeding New Open-Pollinated Varieties Out of Hybrids

Room 111 Developing Regionally Adapted Varieties

Ballroom Managing Seed-Borne Diseases in Seed Production (WEBINAR)

Room 114 Networking and Information Sharing Tools


5:00p - 6:30p  Trade show


5:00p - 6:00p  Lounge OSGATA Annual Meeting -- Open to the Public


5:15p - 6:00p  Library History of Seed in the Willamette Valley with Mike Chilton


5:30p - 9:00p Willamette Seed Swap


5:30p - 6:30p  Foyer Research poster presentations


6:30p - 8:00p Ballroom Banquet dinner sponsored by Seed Matters, closing remarks from OSA


8:45p - 11:00p Ballroom Live music by the Pheromones



Webinar Archive

Webinars from Organic Seed Alliance’s (OSA) 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference are available for viewing. The archived series can be found on eOrganic’s YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/1iXoUbO.


The webinar series was live streamed from the conference. The series features six sessions covering specific topics in the areas of organic plant breeding, organic seed production, and policy. The series also includes a welcome address from Organic Seed Alliance and a keynote address from Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds.


  • Why Organic Seed Matters and How to Meet Demand
  • Research Update: Small Grains and Corn
  • Research Update: Vegetable Crops
  • Unpacking the Cell Fusion Debate
  • Pollinator Conservation Strategies for Organic Seed Producers
  • Managing Seed-Borne Diseases in Seed Production




The official proceedings from the 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference are available for free download. Read scientific papers, how-to instructions, and overviews of presentations delivered by our 70+ speakers.


Click here to download proceedings from the 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference.


We’re thrilled with the high-quality subject matter and writing included in this year’s proceedings. The proceedings include papers about timely issues in the organic seed community, such as Dr. Jim Myers’ paper on cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS). Also included are scientific papers on cutting-edge research involving breeding for organic systems, including the following entries:

  • Status of Cytoplasmic Male Sterility (CMS) in Vegetable Brassicas by Dr. Jim Myers, Oregon State University, pages 134-143
  • CIOA: The Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture Project – Better Carrots for Organic Growers and U.S. Consumers by Philipp Simon, USDA-Agricultural Research Service and Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin – Madison, pages 49-54
  • Germplasm Evaluation of Wheat, Spelt, Emmer, and Einkorn for Organic Production Systems, by Lisa Kissing Kucek, Cornell University, pages 28-35
  • Breeding Barley for Organic Production and Craft Malt in Western Washington by Brook Brouwer, Washington State University, pages 17-20



Anniversary Address from Matthew Dillon of Seed Matters (video)
Many Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors
Our Platinum Sponsors

Seed Matters is an initiative of the Clif Bar Family Foundation designed to improve and protect organic seed to ensure an adequate supply of productive crops for the health of people and the planet. Seed Matters directs its support toward organic seed research and education projects that conserve crop diversity, protect farmers’ roles and rights as seed innovators and stewards, and reinvigorate public seed research and education.



Our Gold Sponsors

Annie's, Inc. is a natural and organic food company based in Berkeley, California. For more than twenty years, we have nourished families with simple, down-to-earth foods that taste great. Annie’s is driven by a team of folks who are passionate about food, people, and the planet we all share. That’s why we seek out the best ingredients Mother Earth has to offer, harvesting pure, natural flavors to make delicious foods for all families.


Oregon Tilth is a nonprofit research and education membership organization dedicated to biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture that offers educational events nationwide and provides organic certification services to growers, processors and handlers across the USA and internationally.


Organic Farming Research Foundation's mission is to foster the adoption and improvement of widespread organic farming systems. At Organic Farming Research Foundation, our vision is for organic farming to be the leading form of agriculture in America. Organic farming is the backbone to resilient, prosperous people who thrive on a healthy planet. Organic Farming Research Foundation serves farmers by: providing improved organic farming practices; creating a relevant and vital support network; and advocating for federal policies that support organic research, education and programs. We support the success of organic farmers through research, education, policy, and community.


UNFI Foundation is committed to promoting healthy, sustainable and organic food production and consumption. We support those organizations that: increase organic food production and consumption; provide research and science to develop organic farming practices; organize conferences and collaborative education forums for new and innovative ideas; protecting the biodiversity of our seed supply, and the stewardship of genetic resources of organic seed; promote transparent labeling in our food supply; teach sustainable farming practices that promote conservation of resources; support organizations that foster the next generation of sustainable and organic farmers; utilize resources to provide nutrients and micro-nutrients among at-risk populations; and educate consumers on the importance of healthy food choices, and the relationship between food and health. We are proud to fund innovative new programs that support the development of healthy, sustainable foods and food practices, and the health of our planet.


Whole Foods Market is the leading natural and organic food retailer and America’s first national certified organic grocer. Since we opened our doors in 1980, we have offered the highest quality natural and organic foods available while focusing on enhancing the experiences of our customers, Team Members, investors, local and global communities as well as the environment. As reflected in our Core Values, we are committed and dedicated to helping support a thriving, healthy planet.



Our Silver Sponsors

Bejo Seeds, the world’s largest producer of certified organic vegetable seeds, offers a wide range of high-quality hybrid varieties. Bejo breeding focuses on strong root systems, optimum nutrition, enhanced disease resistance, uniformity, and outstanding flavor. Partner with Bejo to be organic from seed to plate!


Cafe Mam coffee is 100% organic and fair trade certified, shade-grown, and roasted to-order. Café Mam coffee is grown in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico by Mayan-decent farmers on their own small, family-owned farms, and fresh roasted in Eugene, Oregon.


Driscoll's Berries


High Mowing Organic Seeds is an independently-owned, farm-based seed company dedicated to supporting sustainable agriculture and providing farmers and gardeners with the highest quality certified organic seed.


Nature's Path


Organically Grown Company Founded in 1978, employee and grower-owned Organically Grown Company (OGC) is the largest organic produce distributor in the Pacific Northwest. OGC’s trademarked LADYBUG brand represents over fourty family-owned farms in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.


PCC Natural Markets has partnered with Washington growers for more than fourty years to provide shoppers with fresh, organic produce. We’re proud to support local farmers who are committed to organic practices, helping to preserve, and strengthen organic agriculture.


Southern Exposure Seed Exchange offers 700+ heirloom, organic, and open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and flower varieties, plus garlic, perennial onions and seed saving supplies. Our mission is to conserve genetic resources and ensure that people retain control of their food supply


Vitalis Organic Seeds is a professional organic seed company in protected and field crop varieties of tomato, pepper, cucumber, spinach, squash, lettuce, leek, and cauliflower segments. Our organic variety assortment of vegetable and herb seeds provide organic growers exactly what they need: high quality organic seed in the varietal assortment and quantities desired.



Our Bronze Sponsors

Albert Lea Seed House

Blue River Hybrids

Botanical Interests

Central Co-op

Fedco Seeds

Fremont Brewing

Horizon Organic

Johnny's Selected Seeds


Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)

Mother Earth News



Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA)

Organic Valley

Restoration Seeds

Rite in the Rain

Veritable Vegetable

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“We know system diversity is one of the foundation stones to successful organic production and we have seen a demonstrated commitment from OSA to build that component of diversity relating to seed. I want to ensure my dollars to on-the-ground projects, a place where an emphasis to make an enduring difference is part of the mandate and where my dollars can be leveraged to build a stronger, healthier food system around the world.”


Alec McErlich

OSA supporter

Seattle, Washington