Have you wanted to create new varieties for your farm or garden, but been intimidated by the process? OSA is working to demystify organic plant breeding thanks to support from the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF). OFRF announced funding for a new OSA project to develop organic plant breeding guides for organic farmers and gardeners. OSA will produce four guides, including an introductory guide to organic plant breeding, and specific guides for sweet corn, carrots, and tomatoes. We aim to make these guides available for free download by the end of 2011. (Find our current seed guides here.)
In partnership with Seed Savers Exchange, OSA will also be writing the next edition of the classic seed saving book Seed to Seed. The book will be completely revised to take advantage of the best seed saving information, from the latest research to on-the-ground tips and tricks. The book will include color photos and an accompanying video with seed saving techniques and interviews with seed savers.
But that’s not all. We’re creating an on-line tutorial on organic seed production through eXtension.org. This tutorial is based on the seed intensive held at the Organicology conference and will walk you step-by-step through the process of producing organic onion, carrot, brassica, beet, chard, lettuce, and wet-fruited seed crops. The tutorial will also include modules on choosing the right crops for your climate, seed-borne disease, and seed quality, as well as videos from the Organicology presentations and organic seed farms, along with many additional resources.
Finally, as part of the NOVIC project, OSA will be co-authoring publications on participatory plant breeding. These will help farmers and researchers find the best ways to form successful partnerships to breed crops for organic agriculture.