Investigator: Chuck Ingels, University of California Cooperative Extension, Sacramento County, Sacramento, California
Project location: Joe Green Ranch, Courtland, California (certified organic in 2009)
Investigator: Carol Shennan, University of California, Santa Cruz, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
Stakeholders: Organic strawberry producers
Coordinator: Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance, Port Townsend, WA
Project locations: Washington, Wisconsin, Oregon, Minnesota
The purpose of this project was to identify varieties of quinoa, buckwheat and spelt optimally adapted to organic farming systems in Washington State. Quinoa varieties have been identified that perform well in both Eastern and Western Washington. The multi-location quinoa variety trials have led to the establishment of a robust organic quinoa breeding and agronomy program, with multiple students incorporating genetic, agroecological and social aspects into their research.
Investigator: Jonathan Spero, Lupine Knoll Farm, Williams, Oregon
Project location: Oregon
Maintaining our own seed allows the farmer to adapt seeds to his or her location and growing methods. Seed saving requires open pollinated varieties. Development work in the last 50 or more years has been almost entirely based on hybrids. While hybrids have advantages in creation of corn that is both uniform and productive, we can create open pollinated varieties that are better than any op’s now available.
Coordinator: Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance, Port Townsend, Washington
Stakeholders: Any farmer or agricultural researcher interested in participatory plant breeding as a tool for developing organic seed varieties.
Investigator: Sean Swezey, University of California, Santa Cruz, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
Stakeholders: Central California Brussels sprout and other cole crop producers
Organic tomato, eggplant and watermelon production in Washington is limited by soilborne diseases such as Verticillium wilt. This project explores the efficacy and costs of grafting tomato, eggplant and watermelon in Washington and explores inexpensive and small-scale appropriate greenhouse grafting techniques.
This award will help organic seed producers increase their yields, reduce the risk of having their crops contaminated with pollen from non-organic and GMO varieties, and improve biodiversity on their farms. Growers who raise organic seed crops that are pollinated by bees, such as alfalfa, canola, cotton and beets, have increasingly had their plants contaminated with pollen from non-organic and GMO varieties.