The 10th Organic Seed Growers Conference is shaping up to be our best yet! Below is a list of sessions on the agenda during the main conference event.
The conference offers four tracks: Seed Growing, Plant Breeding, Policy Advocacy, and Seed Ethics. In addition to these sessions, there will be a lively seed swap and other networking events; Seed Expo (trade show); Synergy Space; listening session on organic research priorities; research posters; a variety tasting; and so much more.
Seed Growing Track
Producing Organic Flower Seed
A panel of experienced producers will teach participants how to successfully manage and produce organic flower seed. Speakers: Alan Adessee, Hands on Organics; Eric Budzynski, Floret Flowers; Stacey Denton, Flora Organic Flowers and Siskiyou Seeds; and Frank Morton, Wild Garden Seed.
What the Hemp? Exploring Cannabis Breeding and Seed Production Opportunities
We’ll discuss key questions for growers interested in producing CBD and legal cannabis seed, including breeding and genetics pipelines; production, quality, and handling best practices; legal and IP considerations; and more. Speakers: Seth Crawford, Oregon CBD; Tiffany Fess, Green Thumb Health Co.; Mike Levine, Nature and Nurture Seeds; Tenasi Rama Lazar, Phytonyx; and Jessica Staha, Phylos Bioscience.
Stepping Up Biennial Seed Production
This session will help seed growers gain confidence and skills in biennial seed crop production, and will include tips on climatic conditions, storage, timing of planting; protecting crops through winter; and more. Speakers: Beth and Nathan Corymb, Meadowlark Hearth Farm; Laurie McKenzie, Organic Seed Alliance; and Petra Page-Mann, Fruition Seeds.
Small-scale Contract Seed Production Roundtable
From small-scale seed growers to larger operations growing on contract for seed companies, we’ll hear from growers and seed companies about their experiences in this complex business that leverages diverse skill sets to share what they’ve learned about their model of doing business. Speakers: Nikos Kavanya, Fedco Seeds; Beth Rasgorshek, Canyon Bounty Farm; and Karl Sutton, Fresh Roots Farm and Triple Divide Organic Seed Coop.
Seed Processing Roundtable
Join your fellow conference attendees for conversations and demonstrations about DIY and professional seed cleaning equipment and techniques. Come with your questions and own tips and tricks.
Seed Economics: Balancing Passion and Profitability in Seed Growing
A panel including an agricultural economist and seed producers will lead a discussion focused on how to use economic tools to make decisions in seed production, and balancing economic, environmental, and personal values of growing seed on farm. Speakers: Steph Gaylor, Invincible Summer Farms; Beth Rasgorshek, Canyon Bounty Farm; Winston Oakley, Highland Economics; Judy Owsowitz, Terrapin Farm; and Karl Sutton, Fresh Roots Farm and Triple Divide Organic Seed Coop.
Plant Breeding Track
Accessing Agrobiodiversity: Practical Knowledge for Finding and Using Rare Seeds
Learn practical tools and strategies from farmer-breeders, public breeders, and regional seed companies on how to find and access novel and diverse germplasm through formal and informal networks and collections. Speakers: Ester Casa, Les Refrardes Coop; Sarah Kleeger, Adaptive Seeds; Nathaniel Kleinman, Experimental Farm Network; and Phil Simon, University of Wisconsin-Madison and USDA-ARS.
Utilizing Agrobiodiversity: Breeding for Diversity, Resilience, and In Situ Genetic Conservation
Learn from the experience of several breeding initiatives, organic farmers, and researchers who are working to create genetically diversified populations through different strategies to stimulate adaptation. Speakers: Veronique Chable, INRA; Joseph Lofthouse, Lofthouse Seeds; and Estelle Serpolay, French Institute for Organic Food and Farming.
What are We Learning from Trials? Applied Tools Can Improve Plant Breeding and Variety Testing
We’ll walk through new tools and techniques that can help you make better variety selections. Speakers: Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Seed To Kitchen Collaborative; Nicolas Enjalbert, SeedLinked; Steffen Mirsky, Seed Savers Exchange; and Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance.
Participatory Plant Breeding: Learning from International Researchers and Farmer-Breeders
Speakers from Nepal, Honduras, and India will describe the widespread innovation of farmer-researcher groups who are working together to identify their seed security needs and establish breeding or variety selection programs to address them. Speakers: Helen Jensen, Seedchange; Monika Messmer, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture; and Pedro Mendes Moreira, Polythecnic of Coimbra.
Knowledge Exchange on Breeding Better Brassicas
Panelists will share their breeding experience and engage the group in discussions on breeding needs, strategies, and opportunities for improving brassicas through on-farm and collaborative approaches. Speakers: Veronique Chable, French National Institute for Agricultural Research; Rebecca Ivanoff, Seed Works Plant Breeding Club; Jim Myers, Oregon State University; and Jonathan Spero, Lupine Knoll Farm.
Knowledge Exchange on Breeding Better Tomatoes
Panelists will share their experience and engage the group in discussions on breeding needs, strategies, and opportunities for improved tomatoes through on-farm and collaborative approaches. Speakers: Fred Hempel, Artisan Seeds and Baia Nicchia Farm; Craig LeHouillier, Author of Epic Tomatoes; Joseph Lofthouse, Lofthouse Seeds; and Steve Peters, Organic Seed Alliance and Seed rEvolution Now.
Advocacy and Policy Track
Finding a Path Forward on Seed Licenses
Panelists and participants will discuss the current state of seed licenses and relevant laws, including the Plant Variety Protection Act, and work to develop solutions. Speakers: Brigid Meints, Oregon State University; Jim Myers, Oregon State University; and Gary Whiteaker, Intrinsic Resources.
In the Trenches and in State Capitals: Legislative Work to Protect Organic Seed
This panel includes policy leaders who will share updates, stories, and lessons learned with an eye toward strengthening policy and legislative efforts at the state level. Speakers: Isaura Andaluz, Cuatro Puertas; Chris Hardy, Hardy Seeds; and Amy Wong, Our Family Farms.
Moving the Dial Forward on Organic Seed Policy
This panel will provide updates and answer questions about the state of organic seed policy in the US, and encourages participants to come to the conversation with ideas and strategies for moving the dial forward on organic seed integrity and adoption. Speaker: Kiki Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance; Brian Baker, IFOAM North America
Toward a Radical Vision of Food and Farm Policy in the US Centered Around Regenerative Organic Agriculture
With a presidential election coming soon and the next farm bill due during the next presidential term, the possibility exists for dramatic changes in federal farm policy. Help us create a shared vision for a future in which food sovereignty and true sustainability take precedence over the mad pursuit of profits. Speakers: Kirtrina Baxter, Soil Generation; and Nathaniel Kleinman, Experimental Farm Network.
Excluded Methods: An Industry Perspective
This workshop will bring some clarity to the specific technologies that are currently being discussed by the NOSB. Panelists will address critical questions, such as how extensively these technologies are being used, which crops are most impacted, and what possibilities exist for detecting the usage of these technologies. Speakers: Colin Curwen-McAdams, Bejo Seeds; Jason Cavatorta, Earthwork Seeds; and William Zeb Rehrig, Enza Zaden.
Where Does Open-Source Seed Fit in an IP-dominated Industry?
This workshop delves deeper into the concept of “open-source seed,” including the advantages and pitfalls of advancing open-source models, as well as open source models in relation to existing intellectual property tools within the seed industry. Speakers: Elena Filatova, University of Denver; Claire Luby, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Frank Morton, Wild Garden Seed.
Seed Ethics Track
Visualizing Our Seed Network; Bubble, Bubble, Toil & Trouble
We will examine Phil Howard’s most recent seed industry consolidation graphic and create our own “bubble graphic” that reflects the layers and relationships of organic and community seed. Speakers: Heron Breen, Fedco Seeds; Ken Greene, Seedshed; and Kiki Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance.
Seed Ownership and Seed Commons (Double Session)
A frank and purposeful discussion that will try to find some answers and strategies to the questions and challenges we face at the core of our organic seed network. Share your perspectives around intellectual property; fair compensation and recognition; open seed systems; individual, collective, and public ownership; seed access and equity; and more. Speakers: Jason Cavatorta, Earthwork Seeds; Dan Cornelius, Intertribal Agriculture Council; Noah Schlager, Native Seeds/SEARCH, and Andrew Still, Adaptive Seeds.
Community Seed Stewardship Workshop
In this workshop, participants will engage with community seed researchers and practitioners to learn about existing frameworks for community seed stewardship, and envision new possibilities for their own community-based seed work. Speakers: Melissa DeSa, Working Food Florida; Noah Schlager, Native Seeds/SEARCH; and Daniela Soleri, University of California-Santa Barbara.
Seeds of Resistance, Resilience, and Reconciliation (Double Session)
This panel and facilitated group discussion will share ways in which we can responsibly reconnect seeds and their stories through our lived experience. We’ll hear personal, cultural, and agricultural stories of seed keeping as an act of resistance to oppression, resilience in overcoming systemic and personal challenges, and internal and external reconciliation. These stories will illuminate how culture, race, gender identity, language, sexuality, religion, and ethics inform our seed practices. Speakers: Ken Greene, Co-Founder & Director, Seedshed; Amirah Mitchell, Truelove Seeds; Kenny Perkins, Akwesasne Traditional Seed Keeper, Seedshed; and Vivien Sansour, Founder & Director, Palestine Heirloom Seed Library. Facilitators: Katherine Chiu, Farmer/Founder, Asian Vegetable CSA and Project Manager, Seedshed; Justin T. Herne, Program Assistant, Seedshed; Nathaniel Kleinman, Experimental Farm Network; Deborah Ni, Assistant Director, Seedshed; Mehmet Öztan, Ph.D., Seed Farmer & Co-owner, Two Seeds in a Pod Heirloom Seed Co.; and Jackie Pilati, Reclaim Seed NYC.