If you study food and farming, you will inevitably learn about the ways in which our agricultural system is broken as a result of historical policies. Collectively, we need to address these breakages to confront challenges such as environmental contamination, racial discrimination, labor exploitation, natural resource depletion, human nutritional deficiencies, and the loss of culturally significant crops.
Plant breeding is one of the strongest tools we have for adapting our farms and gardens to a changing environment. Put simply, we need more plant breeders, spread across more places, working with more crops. There is a misconception that a person needs an advanced degree and connections to deep-pocketed private corporations in order to be a “professional plant breeder.” Part of the work that needs to be done is encouraging farmers and community organizations that plant breeding can be inclusive, and that there are diverse ways to participate in crop improvement projects.
One of the ways that Organic Seed Alliance and our partners are working to empower farmers to engage in plant breeding projects is through a new series of educational webinars, now available to watch online. The series titled, “Practical Training for On-Farm and Collaborative Plant Breeding” is six-parts and covers topics ranging from early-stage goal setting to considerations regarding variety release and commercialization. You can find links to all the recordings, along with the slides and additional resource using the button below.
Learn more about the project here. If you are an independent or collaborative farmer/breeder and want to share your story as a way to encourage others, please reach out to Michael Lordon at firstname.lastname@example.org.