Organic Seed Alliance advances ethical seed solutions to meet food and farming needs in a changing world.
We envision organic seed systems that are democratic and just, support human and environmental health, and deliver genetically diverse and regionally adapted seed to farmers everywhere.
Organic Seed Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that advances ethical seed solutions to meet food and farming needs in a changing world. Our work ensures an abundant and diverse supply of ecologically grown seed, tended in perpetuity by skilled and diverse communities of seed stewards. To advance this mission, we serve growers working with seed across the US at any scale through participatory research, practical education, policy advocacy, and network development. We prioritize partnerships with organizations and individuals aligned with our values, and we convene spaces where divergent viewpoints can be expressed and explored. In all our work, we ally ourselves with and embrace opportunities to amplify movements for community sovereignty, racial equity, and social justice.
OSA’s programs are woven of technical expertise, rigorous methods, practical experience, and deep reverence for seed work. We are in awe of the processes of life, and root our organizational systems in the wisdom of ecology. We continually seek input from growers working with seed, ensuring that we are directed by, and accountable to, the people we serve.
Each year, OSA educates thousands of farmers and other agricultural community members through on-farm and online events and resources. Our research program involves organic plant breeding and seed production research, and our advocacy efforts focus on policies that strengthen organic seed systems. Our most recent State of Organic Seed report (2022) is part of an ongoing project to monitor the status of organic seed nationally and provides a roadmap for increasing the diversity, quality, and integrity of organic seed available to US farmers.
CONFRONTING SEED CONSOLIDATION
Over the last four decades, the seed industry has rapidly consolidated. Much of our commercial seed is now owned and managed by a small number of transnational firms. Intellectual property practices (e.g., utility patents on seed) stand out as a major cause. This control has stifled innovation in plant breeding and has created barriers to improving the availability and integrity of organic seed.
OSA works to address consolidation through regional seed networks that result in transformative change at the national level. Our collaborative research projects emphasize diversity, ecology, and shared benefits. Our educational efforts build the base of knowledge necessary for stewarding seed and enhancing diversity through on-farm plant breeding and seed production. And our policy advocacy work promotes the benefits of organic seed while simultaneously confronting threats to genetic integrity and growers’ rights.
OSA grew out of Abundant Life Seed Foundation, a nonprofit seed conservation program and catalog business. In 2003, a tragic fire resulted in the loss of Abundant Life Seed Foundation’s extensive seed collection. At that time, the board of directors launched OSA as a separate organization to support the growing organic seed movement. The Abundant Life Seed Foundation business was sold.