Autumn 2016 Newsletter

We Have a New Executive Director!
Reports Describe Plant Breeding Priorities for Organic
Save the Date for the California Organic Seed Summit
Why the Southeast Seed Movement Matters
Seed consolidation continues. So should resistance.
Organic Seed is on the Menu at Next NOSB Meeting
Over Eighty Participate in Annual Research Field Tour
Organicology Registration Open, Scholarships Available
Upcoming Events


We Have a New Executive Director!

We're proud to announce Cara Loriz as our new executive director! Cara joins OSA with an impressive background in nonprofit development; small business management and public advocacy; and environmental education, consulting, and writing. Micaela Colley, our previous director, will remain on staff in a new role. "Joining the OSA team is a compelling opportunity to continue my commitment to sustainable agriculture and the environment," says Cara. "I'm eager to work with OSA's expert researchers, educators, and policy advocates as we grow our capacity to meet the critical needs of organic farmers and the food systems they serve." Read more


Reports Describe Plant Breeding Priorities for Organic

OSA and Cornell University have each released a report that details plant breeding priorities for organic agriculture in the Pacific Northwest and Northeast, respectively. The assessments are a result of surveys and regional working groups that gathered input from organic farmers, organic seed and food distributors, and public and private plant breeders. The two reports provide recommendations to inform plant-breeding efforts by ranking crops and traits most important to organic farmers. Read more


Save the Date for the California Organic Seed Summit

Mark your calendar for the 3rd annual California Organic Seed Summit, Friday, February 17, through Sunday, February 19, 2017, at the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel in Montara, California. The retreat is a unique opportunity to network, exchange knowledge, and develop collective actions to build sustainable, profitable, and resilient seed systems in California. The program is tailored to the needs and interests of participating California seed stakeholders. The event is invitation only, so if you're interested in learning more and participating in the summit, please contact Jared Zystro


Why the Southeast Seed Movement Matters

The Southeast has made exciting progress in building a regional food system that emphasizes family farming and healthy food. One of the notable areas of growth has been in organic agriculture, and the region continues to see more certified organic farms and acreage. This is a trend that's national in scope. But another trend is this: A critical element of organic production and integrity -- organic seed -- is not keeping pace with this growth. These supply gaps are especially noticeable to Southeast growers, where pest and disease pressures are high and climates variable. Read more


Seed consolidation continues. So should resistance.

The seed industry is one of the most consolidated in agriculture, and it's getting worse. Bayer recently announced that it reached a merger agreement with Monsanto, which will create the world's largest supplier in seeds and agricultural chemicals. DuPont and Dow, and ChemChina and Syngenta, have also announced agreements to merge. If the Department of Justice (DOJ) allows these three mega-mergers to move forward, three corporations will sell nearly 60% of the world's seed. This level of concentration will have grave impacts on U.S. agriculture, including organic. We know that consolidation in the seed industry leads to less choice for all farmers, regardless of what they grow and how they grow it. Read more


Organic Seed is on the Menu at Next NOSB Meeting

Join OSA in St. Louis, Missouri, from November 15th through the 18th, 2016, for timely discussions and public comment opportunities on a number of organic policy proposals at the fall meeting for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The National Organic Coalition will host its pre-NOSB meeting on November 15th followed by a packed NOSB agenda from the 16th through the 18th. OSA will be giving a formal presentation on State of Organic Seed, 2016. Your feedback on a number of seed-related documents on the agenda is critical to the policy making process. Find these documents and instructions for submitting written comments here. Written comments are due by October 26th, 2016. Read more


Over Eighty Participate in Annual Research Field Tour

Thanks to everyone who came out for our annual fall field day! The event kicked off with a tour of variety trials and breeding projects in the field, and concluded with a variety tasting of carrots, kale, onions, quinoa, sweet corn, and tomatoes. About 80 people came out for the event to enjoy the bounty of the season, learn about our collaborative research both regionally and nationally, and contribute to our plant-breeding decisions in an important way: as tasters! See more photos


Organicology Registration Open, Scholarships Available

The next installment of Organicology is coming together for its fifth year and will be held February 2nd through the 4th, 2017, in Portland, Oregon. With new educational tracks, three exciting keynotes, and the largest all-organic trade show in the Northwest, we're excited to announce registration is now open. Funds are available to support beginning farmers, farm interns, and agricultural students in need of financial assistance to participate in Organicology. Apply for scholarship funds by December 2nd, 2016, here. Register for Organicology here.


Upcoming Events

Organic Seed Production Webinar Series #5: Cleaning and Record Keeping, Case Study
October 18, 2016 | eOrganic Webinar | Register today 


"Seed: The Untold Story" Film Screening and Community Discussion 
November 3, 2016 | Kingston, Washington | Learn more


Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's Sustainable Agriculture Conference 
November 4 - 6, 2016 | Durham, North Carolina | Learn more


Fundamentals of Commercial Organic Seed Production Workshop
November 6, 2016 | Pescadero, California | Register today


Farm to Market Conference
November 11 - 12, 2016 | Cheyenne, Wyoming | Learn more 


Organic Seed Production Webinar Series #6: Seed Contracting and Economics
November 15, 2016 | eOrganic Webinar | Register today


National Organic Coalition Pre-NOSB Meeting
November 15, 2016 | St. Louis, Missouri | Learn more


National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Fall Meeting
November 16 - 18, 2016 | St. Louis, Missouri | Learn more


Montana Organic Association Conference
December 1 - 3, 2016 | Kalispell, Montana | Learn more


NOFA-NY Winter Conference
January 20 - 22, 2017 | Saratoga Springs, New York | Learn more


February 2 - 4, 2017 | Portland, Oregon | Register today


California Organic Seed Summit
February 17 - 19, 2017 | Montara, California | Learn more


MOSES Organic Farming Conference 
February 23 - 25, 2016 | La Crosse, Wisconsin | Learn more


Mountain West Seed Summit
March 3 - 4, 2017 | Santa Fe, New Mexico | Learn more 

Follow us on
Support Us

“OSA is the place I always turn to when I need to know more about an issue or learn more about how best to produce and save a particular kind of seed. With OSA and others leading the charge, I know the integrity and future of organic seeds is assured.”


Electra de Peyster

Seed Stewards

Santa Rosa, California