February 4–11, 2022
- About the Organic Seed Growers Conference
- 2022 Conference Theme and Priority Topic Areas
- Request for Proposals and Invitation to Participate
- A Note About Organic
- About the Organic Seed Commons Virtual Platform
About the Organic Seed Growers Conference
The Organic Seed Growers Conference is a biennial gathering by and for agroecological seed communities in the U.S. across the world. The event creates spaces where experienced and emerging seed stewards can convene timely conversations, educational trainings, and strategy sessions. The gathering serves as a conduit for making new connections and catching up with old friends, networking across organic seed communities, sharing knowledge with other participants, and celebrating the growing movement. Organizers curate a conference agenda that reflects the multifaceted needs of seed growers and advocates, no matter the ease or discomfort of the topics. The goal of the Organic Seed Growers Conference is to inspire individuals, communities, organizations, and businesses to take actions that support and improve the integrity of the philosophical and practical systems that make up the organic seed movement and trade.
The 2022 conference will be held virtually on the Organic Seed Commons platform and include both live and pre-recorded content, and plenty of opportunities for participants to network and skill-share with one another. The conference is the largest organic seed event in the U.S. and will be an all-virtual event for the first time, providing a nine-day agenda of demonstrations, farm tours, lightning talks, art, regional meetups, regional/topical/affinity synergy spaces, keynote presentations, and celebration.
Scroll down to see the expanded list of session types in this year’s invitation to help shape the event.
2022 Conference Theme and Priority Topic Areas
This year’s conference will be held virtually on a new and emerging platform called Organic Seed Commons. As such, the 11th Organic Seed Growers Conference theme is Organic Seed Commons to reflect a desire to broaden organic seed communities both in virtual and physical spaces. We see the virtual gathering as an opportunity to deepen community interactions beyond the conference cycle by supporting participants to leverage this new online network to meet their needs both at the event and beyond.
Priority Topic Areas
Topics reflecting 2022 theme, Organic Seed Commons
- Building equity and justice in organic seed communities
- Policy and advocacy focused on seed equity and justice
- Methods for building community and access beyond the conference cycle in the new Organic Seed Commons virtual platform
- Nuts and bolts of growing seed, conducting variety trials, and/or plant breeding (e.g. field practices, seed cleaning, and/or processing, packing, and sales)
- Emergent topics related to current events (e.g. COVID lessons and stories)
Topics that reflect ongoing conference priorities with an emphasis on outcomes for seed growers and communities
- Advancements in organic plant breeding
- Breeding for resiliency and biodiversity, including to mitigate the impacts of climate change
- Grower-led and participatory breeding projects
- New models for organic seed production, quality assurance, enterprise development, and commercializing new varieties (e.g., alternative approaches to intellectual property)
- Understanding the economics of seed production
- Timely and emerging policy and advocacy topics that are essential to expanding organic seed systems and that are in need of more clarity, strategy, and discussion
- First-person seed stories from a diversity of perspectives and communities, especially encouraged from growers of historical and contemporary culturally significant crops and/or varieties.
Past proceedings are available here.
Request for Proposals and Invitation to Participate
The conference organizers invite you to help shape the 11th Organic Seed Growers Conference by providing input for the agenda. We welcome your proposals and suggestions. This is an opportunity to share important skills and research, and ask timely questions related to organic seed. This year the conference planning committee has expanded the types of sessions and ways to contribute to the event and are welcoming both a traditional Request for Proposals of Peer-Reviewed Sessions as well as an Invitation for Open Proposals. See below for descriptions of session types and additional details.
All Peer-Reviewed and Open Submission proposals are due by December 1, 2021.
Media and pre-recorded content for confirmed submissions are due by January 9, 2022.
Conference Commitment to Equity and Inclusion
We are particularly interested in proposals that include growers from Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ seed communities.
While we welcome a diversity of proposals, those that include the following are encouraged:
- Seed grower presenter or seed grower included on panel
- Racial diversity among presenter(s) or panelists
- Presenters from a diversity of agricultural backgrounds / approaches
- Opportunities for audience interaction
Session Type Descriptions and Expectations
Proposals for Peer-Reviewed Sessions will be evaluated and chosen by a review committee with diverse representation from organic seed communities. There are four types of sessions in this category: 1) Panel Discussion, 2) Roundtable, 3) Presentation of Research, and 4) Virtual Research Poster.
3-4 expert panelists give brief presentations on their particular perspective on a topic, then interact with participants via Zoom chat or other engagement tools to respond to questions and feedback. Audience participation is expected to be more passive compared to a roundtable.
Zoom Meeting or Hybrid (pre-recorded presentations and live panel to follow)
Begins with ~15 minutes of presentation led by a small group of facilitators, then followed by a participatory and interactive live discussion with session participants that’s led by pre-determined questions from facilitators. The point of a roundtable is for speakers to learn more about a subject both from and with participants. Audience participation is expected to be more active and participate compared to a panel discussion and audience sizes may be limited.
Presenter(s) will share important results and findings from their recent or current research projects with a focus on outcomes. The last 5 minutes of the presentation will be reserved for questions from the audience submitted via the Zoom chat.
Live Zoom Meeting, pre-recorded video with Live Q&A.
Presenter(s) will present a succinct overview of current or recent scientific research, with a similar level of depth as one would expect from an in-person poster session. Time will be set aside in the agenda for conference participants to rotate through the poster presentations as one would during an in-person conference.
5-minute video with abstract submission.
Expectations for Presenters
Poster Presenters will be expected to respond to questions and comments on their video submission on the Organic Seed Commons platform throughout the duration of the conference. Training and guidance on how to use the platform will be provided.
Invitation for Open Proposals
The conference committee is also inviting Open Submissions to be included in the conference. All submissions that fall within the Organic Seed Commons Community Guidelines will be accepted and some Open Submissions may be selected by the conference committee to be featured as part of the conference agenda and programming. There are four types of sessions in this category: 1) Demonstration, 2) Farm Tour, 3) Lightning Talk, and 4) Works of Art.
A presentation of how to use a piece of seed equipment, how to apply a breeding method to on-farm practice, etc.
Pre-recorded video. 15 minutes maximum.
Expectations for Submitters
Demonstrators will be expected to respond to questions and comments on their video submission on the Organic Seed Commons platform throughout the duration of the conference. Training and guidance on how to use the platform will be provided.
Tour of your farm, seed or research operation.
Pre-recorded video preferred. Please contact Rebekah at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in hosting a live tour.
Expectations for Submitters
Farm Tour Hosts will be expected to respond to questions and comments on their video submission on the Organic Seed Commons platform throughout the duration of the conference. Training and guidance on how to use the platform will be provided.
A succinct overview of a wide range of topics related to seed and conference priorities/theme.
Pre-recorded video. 5 minutes maximum.
Expectations for Submitters
Lightning Talk Presenters will be expected to respond to questions and comments on their video submission on the Organic Seed Commons platform throughout the duration of the conference. Training and guidance on how to use the platform will be provided.
A submission of seed-focused art, music, poetry, digital zines, performance art, film, or other media to be included on the Organic Seed Commons platform and potentially featured as part of the conference agenda. Submissions may be displayed during intermissions, welcoming sessions or in other ways (feel free to suggest).
Most types of media accepted, including videos, photos or photo galleries, music, etc.
Expectations for Submitters
As this type of submission is quite open ended, conference organizers will work together with those submitting works of art to develop a mutually agreed upon set of expectations that honors the artists.
A Note About Organic
Our vision for organic seed systems includes all seed growers committed to agroecological practices and principles that align with equity and justice. We believe in organic certification and the benefits to growers, consumers, and the planet. We also recognize that organic certification is not the right fit for every grower and that barriers to certification and the organic marketplace exist.
Additionally, we recognize that the term “organic agriculture” was formulated in response to conventional agricultural practiced by largely white colonial societies, and that agriculture was used as a tool to dispossess and displace Indigenous peoples from their land on this continent and elsewhere. Agriculture has been and continues to be a means to resist colonization and maintain a cultural identity for Indigenous, Black, People of Color, and immigrant communities in North America and around the world. Organic certification enables transparency and trust of production practices in a distanced and transactional society, but we recognize that many seed-keepers, plant breeders, farmers and gardeners who do not use organic certification are expressing values that encompass the values of the organic community.
About the Organic Seed Commons Virtual Platform
Organic Seed Commons, hosted by OSA and an advisory committee, is an online space for seed people to learn, connect, and grow together. The network was developed in its BETA phase in February 2021 as a virtual event space to deliver educational material and connect people working with seed through educational resource sharing, networking, and collaborative working groups. Organic Seed Commons was built with the intention of being an open space that will evolve and morph to fit the needs of the larger seed community.
Conference attendees will gain access to a dedicated space that will allow them to network and share with other attendees in real time. In addition to conference content the network is home to a vibrant community that includes active educational courses, regional seed groups and initiatives.
Many thanks to our generous 2022 sponsors!
Gold Level Sponsors
Botanical Interests is a garden seed company in Broomfield, Colorado specializing in organic, non-GMO herb, flower, and vegetable varieties for the home gardener. Their goal is to inspire and educate the gardeners to create beautiful and prolific gardens wherever they are. Not only is the seed inside their packets the highest quality available, their packets are designed to give gardening information that helps to make gardeners more successful!
Johnny’s Selected Seeds is a privately held, employee-owned seed producer and merchant headquartered in Winslow, Maine, USA. Our mission is to help families, friends, and communities feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information, and service. Johanna Willingham is the Regional Sales Rep living in Olympia, WA, 207-238-5320 or cell: 360-463-1786, email: email@example.com.
Organically Grown Company Founded in 1978, perpetual purpose trust-owned Organically Grown Company (OCG), is the largest organic produce distributor in the Pacific Northwest. For the past 40-years, the company’s progressive and entrepreneurial spirit has fueled its mission and growth, meeting the demand for organics in the marketplace while supporting its community of farmers. OGC has been recognized as a leader in sustainable business practices including sourcing 100% renewable energy in facilities, support for fair trade and charitable giving. When people in the Northwest purchase organic fruits and vegetables at their grocery store, there is a very good chance that it’s there because of OGC.
Silver Level Sponsors
Fedco Seeds a cooperative garden supply company focused on cold-hardy selections and dedicated to organic/sustainable agriculture, offers untreated vegetable, herb and flower seeds, soil amendments, cover crops, garden supplies, fruit trees, berries, ornamentals, seed potatoes, garlic, flower bulbs and more.
Gaia Herbs is the leading herbal brand in North America, with more than 200 patented Liquid Phyto-Caps™, liquid extracts, functional powders and herbal teas to help support and maintain optimal health. From seed to shelf, Gaia is deeply committed to the purity, integrity and potency of each product. The company uses only organic methods to cultivate more than 6.5 million plants each year (representing 21 varieties in 2017) on its farms in the US and Costa Rica, and that same organic approach continues through manufacturing, using patented technology to achieve the highest efficacy of each herb, validated by Gaia’s scientists throughout the process.
High Mowing Organic Seeds is an independently owned, farm-based seed company offering 700+ varieties of USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified seeds for farmers, gardeners and homesteaders. We specialize in providing professional grade organic seeds that are selected to thrive in organic conditions and varieties that are widely adapted to perform in all regions of the U.S. and Canada.
Oregon Tilth In 1974, Oregon Tilth was founded on the idea that food and agriculture should be equitable and sustainable. Each day, we work with a community of changemakers to transform the food marketplace. We provide certification services that sustain organic agriculture and the people who support it. But we don’t stop there. From education to technical assistance, Oregon Tilth designs strategies and tools that address the challenges faced by farmers and food producers. Visit: tilth.org
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange offers 700+ heirloom, organic, and open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and flower varieties, plus garlic, perennial onions and seed saving supplies. Our mission is to ensure that people retain control of their food supply, conserve genetic resources and offer gardeners the option of saving their own seeds.
Vitalis Organic Seeds Founded in 1994 in The Netherlands, Vitalis Organic Seeds is a global leader in organic seed production and breeding. All Vitalis varieties are certified organic for the US, Canada, Mexico and the EU. We believe in building organic production systems with organically produced seed.
Bronze Level Sponsors
Is your company or organization interested in sponsoring the 11th Organic Seed Growers Conference? Contact Cara Loriz for more information.