Summer 2011 Newsletter

Greetings,Today we welcome summer and bid adieu to one of the coolest and wettest springs on record here in the Northwest. While our changing climate poses unpredictable shifts in temperatures and seasons, one thing remains certain: seed bred in organic farming conditions will deliver beneficial traits that can adapt over time to a range of growing seasons and local ecological conditions.


In our research update below, you’ll get a glimpse of Organic Seed Alliance’s (OSA) role in this important work, including our carrot and sweet corn projects that aim to expand farmers’ options in seed appropriate for organic systems. Just as seed adapts to our changing environment, we too must adapt, as evidenced in our decision to work with a different variety of winter squash this year to meet regional needs as part of our Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative trials.


Our work never stops with research. OSA recently released comprehensive organic seed production tutorials through eOrganic, the national organic Extension website, that provide a multi-media experience for farmers and researchers across the U.S. These tutorials are a reminder of the important niche our educational efforts are filling. You can check them out here.


Finally, as we advocate for protecting organic seed systems from threats like GMOs, we must also advocate for policies that encourage the development and expansion of these systems. We are glad the National Organic Program (NOP) just released a draft guidance document on the use of organic seed, but we believe the NOP could do much more to support increased availability and usage of organic seed. See our advocacy update to learn how you can help.


Happy Solstice,

Micaela Colley



Organic Seed Alliance Publishes Seed Production Tutorials

OSA’s seed production tutorials are now available! These multi-media tutorials teach you professional techniques for organic seed production...Read more.


Northern Organic Variety Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC)

In the field, OSA's breeding work continues to involve a new Nantes carrot variety that grows tall tops to better compete with weeds and enough cold-hardiness...Read more.


Columbia Foundation Supports Outreach to Northern California

OSA’s work in California has been bolstered thanks to support from the Columbia Foundation. The foundation is supporting OSA outreach in northern California, including workshops and stakeholder meetings. Come to one of the following...Read more.


NOP Releases Guidance on Organic Seed: Comment by Aug 12

On June 13, 2011, the National Organic Program (NOP) released draft guidance on the commercial availability of organic seed. The organic community has long anticipated this document given that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) made recommendations...Read more.



Seed Stirrings in the Southeast

Agricultural leaders from the Southeast recently convened to lay the groundwork for strengthening the region’s organic seed systems. Organic Seed Alliance’s advisory services director Dan Hobbs, along with board members Tony Kleese and Ira Wallace, hosted an exploratory meeting...Read more.


Organic Seed Growers Conference: Input and Proposals Due July 1

The invitation for input and proposals for our 2012 Organic Seed Growers Conference is now available! This is your opportunity to share important research and ask timely questions of your organic seed community members. Suggestions for content and proposals are due July 1, 2011. View invitation for input and proposals

Thousands Gather at Mother Earth News Fair

A big thanks to everyone who came out for the Mother Earth News Fair June 4 – 5, 2011, in Puyallup, Washington! The fair was a huge success, as was our co-sponsored seed swap, OSA benefit auction, and seed workshops. Thank you to Mother Earth News for their generous support and commitment to community seed systems.



Upcoming Events

Salt Spring Island, BC: John Navazio presents “Seeds for Change: Organic Seed Production and Crop Variety Improvement” on July 4 – 5, 2011

Richmond, CA: Jared Zystro presents "Seed Saving 101" in conjunction with the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library on September 12, 2011

Petaluma, CA: Jared Zystro presents “Seed Saving 101” at the Heirloom Expo on September 13 – 15, 2011

Berkeley, CA: Jared Zystro presents "Seed Saving 201" at the Ecology Center on Tuesday October 4, 2011

Please visit our events page for more information on upcoming events

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“No other organization’s efforts match the work of Organic Seed Alliance. Their research, advocacy, education, and support have had consistent, positive impacts on my organic seed farm.”


Beth Rasgorshek

Canyon Bounty Farm

Nampa, Idaho