Organic Seed Production and Improvement Training Program for Vermont

There is an ever-increasing need for sources of organic seed and an interest by farmers and seed companies to build a local and regional supply of seed. This project addresses that need, and builds on a collaborative project conducted by Northeast Organic Farming Association-Vermont (NOFA-VT) and High Mowing Organic Seeds (HMOS) from 2002 to 2005, called the Organic Seed Production Technical Assistance Program. In that project, we learned that it is crucial for organic vegetable seed growers to gain experience in the field in order to be successful, therefore any training or technical assistance program must include hands-on experience in the field. Also key is to provide expert up-to-date educational materials that growers can follow as they become familiar with the seed crop, applying what they learn to improve their seed growing techniques. Through continual support to develop their seed growing skills and gain greater levels of experience, the growers are more able to consistently produce high quality organic seed.

To meet that goal, the objectives of this project are to:

  • Develop organic seeds as a value-added agricultural product for organic farmers in Vermont and begin to build the supply of local and regional organic seeds
  • Develop new print and web-based educational materials, and collect and make available existing materials on organic seed production in the NE
  • Conduct 4 participatory hands-on trainings and 2 field days to demonstrate seed production techniques
  • Provide expert on-farm technical assistance to seed growers 

For this project, High Mowing will contribute their research efforts and cumulative knowledge of how to grow seed crops in this climate to provide hands-on trainings, and NOFA-VT will coordinate the production of educational materials, outreach, and technical assistance to organic growers. The aim of this collaboration is to make innovations in seed production accessible to seed growers and explore the frontier of how to make selections in vegetable seed crops to better suit Vermont certified organic farmers.

A final project report will be posted upon completion.