This year marked the 6th Annual California Seed Summit, a gathering of organic seed growers, seed companies, and industry stakeholders collectively sharing information and solving problems. This year’s summit was held in San Luis Obispo County alongside the 32nd Annual California Small Farm Conference. Over the past six years, the summit has evolved to meet the needs of the group it aims to serve.
Among the wide range of subjects discussed, attendees were able to dig in and share different tips and tricks for things like navigating social media, organizing marketing channels, and enterprise budgeting. Attendees also shared results from their variety trials, breeding projects, different landraces they may be working with or their experiences in contract production.
One of the needs identified during the roundtable discussions was the lack of clarity around the legal requirements for growing and selling vegetable seed and around labor laws in California. Attendees stated how difficult it is to navigate bringing on intern or apprentice labor. Several of the attendees also echoed the frustrations of going through the organic certification process as a seed producer as well as a seed company. Identifying and minimizing these barriers to entry is one way to help increase the amount of organic seed produced in California.
In addition to the information sharing between the attendees of the California Seed Summit, it is also an opportunity for OSA to share upcoming projects with attendees and get focused feedback. One of the upcoming projects includes a Seed Entrepreneurship Intensive. The course will be highly customized to the course attendees, providing some valuable one-on-one instruction from a range of experts and guest speakers. Applications for the Entrepreneurship Intensive will be opening in late April of this year.