The Organic Seed Alliance staff and Board are thrilled to introduce our new team members! We’re beyond excited to welcome these seed stewards and advocates to our growing team and the larger organic seed community.
If you’re out visiting us at the Washington research farm in Chimacum, be sure to say hi to the new field interns Jessika, Aba, and Sam, and you might also spot Rebekah our new information & events coordinator.
Information & Events Coordinator
Rebekah Korenowsky Woods joins the team as the Information & Events Coordinator for Organic Seed Alliance. In this role, Rebekah connects people to resources and to each other through the Organic Seed Commons, biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference, and other events and programs. As a systems-thinker and problem-solver, Rebekah has previously conducted research and restoration at the land-water-human interface and stewarded collaborative community relationships for several environmental nonprofit organizations. Rebekah’s education includes a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geology from Ohio University and coursework in the Master of Environmental Studies program at The Evergreen State College. On the creative side, Rebekah is also a fiber artist who uses natural materials and home-grown or scavenged dyes to create simple, functional pieces. Rebekah lives in Port Townsend, Washington and uses she/her and they/them pronouns interchangeably.
Jessika Blackport farms outside of Rochester, Washington, and joined the OSA field intern team for the 2021 growing season after working on a native seed farm growing for prairie restoration in western Washington. Jessika started getting interested in food crops after working with native plant seed and wanted to learn to develop varieties that would be successful on her property. She was a little intimidated by plant breeding research but has learned it can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. Jessika plans to get into contract sales for regional seed companies. She wants to contribute to a resilient regional seed community and has started a seed library in her hometown. Jessika loves seed — native, vegetable, flower – and wants to grow it all!
Aba Kiser joins the OSA team for her second year interning at the research farm. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, Aba has called the Pacific Northwest home since moving out to study comparative history of ideas and theater at the University of Washington in 2006, and completing a management and media degree at Evergreen State College with a focus on sustainable agriculture. Aba has worked on several different farms and was a WOOFer all over California. She’s always had a foot in the farming world as a passion and has been working in farmer education for the past six years. Last year was her first year working with seed! Aba is excited about the no-till practices at the OSA research farm and wants to compare year to year on how that plays out. She’s also excited about the radicchio and buckwheat projects that we’re working on with Washington State University, and to be on the crew again and enjoy the Finnriver air. Aba is interested in exploring different relationships to culturally relevant crops. Last season she was thinking about growing tobacco but realized how loaded that was – so much history, so much heaviness. She’s hoping to have a different conversation about research in this context and would love to put together a presentation that shows the mistakes she’s made, where the conversation might lead, and the pitfalls along the way. Aba is particularly thinking about a reparations framework that would allow her to do the kind of work she most wants to do. She shares that, “being with the crew is so lovely, working with the Katie, Sam, and Laurie, and welcoming Melony to the team. Every day on the farm I learn something new. I’m so excited to get outside and off my computer.”
Sam Scheidt joins the Washington-based OSA research team for his second field intern season. Originally from Jamul, California, Sam now lives in Jefferson County, Washington and has worked at a variety of market CSA operations, in the Finnriver Orchard, and as a volunteer food bank grower, something that he’s been really passionate about. Sam had a similar food bank project in Portland, Oregon, and saving seed for that project got him going on this path. He likes open-pollinated variety mixes – letting them cross and then selecting. He’s been growing a butternut squash “Early Remix” and selecting for early maturity, and is very interested in participatory plant breeding, both with OSA and on his own. This season Sam hopes to continue working with the French cabbage project and to cross-pollinate dry beans by hand. He’d also like to gain more experience with the machinery of seed cleaning equipment. Sam shares that he likes being a participant in the full life cycle of the plant and that, “in my other ag experience, I’d grow a plant to a certain point and then take it away. Now I’m looking at a head of lettuce and thinking this could be a salad for tonight or a thousand heads of lettuce for so many.”
Will Gallagher is a third-year law student at the University of Maryland interested in agricultural law and intellectual property, and especially the intersections of the two. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2018 with a degree in biology and worked as a legislative aide to Maryland Senator Brian J. Feldman during the 2019 session. Will currently serves on the executive board of the Maryland Law Review, UMD Food Law Society, and UMD Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. He enjoys playing guitar, mountain biking, kayaking, and berry picking, and hopes to pursue a career that combines his passions for environmental science, the arts, and law.
Paulina Jenney is a master’s candidate in the Environmental Studies program at the University of Montana. Her work centers on climate-adapted seeds and intellectual property rights for alternative plant breeders and seed stewards. Born and raised in the desert southwest, Paulina earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and creative writing from the University of Arizona before traveling the world to learn about organic and small-scale farming techniques. She has worked for the Institute of the Environment, Conservation International – Perú and, most recently, taught English and environmental stewardship as a Fulbright grantee in northern Spain. She writes about what she learns at Terrain.org.