OSA recently bid farewell to staff member and friend Dr. John Navazio, who is re-locating cross-country to work as a plant breeder for Johnny’s Selected Seeds. After serving more than ten years as our senior scientist, we’re sad to see him go, but excited for the opportunity before him.
We can’t thank John enough for his years of service to OSA. As a visionary co-founder of the organization, he helped establish organic plant breeding as a professional field and philosophy. His expertise and leadership shaped our organization’s research and education programs, which in turn have supported the expansion of the industry he now enters. We couldn’t be prouder of his accomplishments.
Thankfully John’s departure comes at a time when our research team is growing, which includes three additional staff members with plant breeding and seed research expertise. Our plant breeding program is expanding with breeding work on the ground through research partnerships with seven universities and dozens of farmers across the country. In 2015 our first public variety release, ‘Who Gets Kissed?’ sweet corn, will become commercially available through High Mowing Organic Seeds. Our second release, ‘Abundant Bloomsdale’ spinach is currently being offered to seed companies for trial.
Beyond our field research, we’re busy surveying farmers about their seed needs, perspectives, and experiences. If you are a certified organic crop producer, we need to hear from you! Please take our national seed survey today. Findings will be included in our next State of Organic Seed report, which will include recommendations for improving access to seed that is optimal for U.S. organic agriculture. The report will be released at the 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference to be held February 4-6, 2016 in Corvallis, Oregon — save the date! We’ll be sharing preliminary survey results and gathering additional input from the organic community at a number of listening sessions at organic agriculture conferences this winter.
Lastly, this August OSA staff left the Student Organic Seed Symposium inspired by the intelligence and enthusiasm of the next generation of organic plant breeders. Saying goodbye to an old friend and mentor the same month as meeting so many new graduate students breeding and publishing their research in the organic field reminded me we are all stewards of not only the seed, but the seed knowledge.
Thank you, John, for passing the knowledge forward and sharing your passion for seed with us all.
P.S. You can support Organic Seed Alliance with a purchase of a trendy Pura Vida bracelet (pictured right)! Get yours today from the Pura Vida website. And this is just the beginning! Mark your calendars for the week of September 29th for an upcoming week-long special OSA t-shirt sale that benefits our work.