On a rainy Valentine’s day, I had the privilege of attending the Organic Seed Growers Conference in Corvallis, Oregon, which is run by the Organic Seed Alliance. Despite my knowledge of and passion for organic production systems, my knowledge of organic seed systems seriously lags in comparison. Therefore, the two days I spent at OSG were transformative. I spent time learning about the ways Indigenous communities share seeds, and the current state of organic seed policy on the federal level. The most impactful part of the conference was the time and energy OSA dedicated to showcasing how seeds are the keepers of history, culture, and tradition in our own backyards and across the globe. Through workshops, panels, and keynote speakers, they demonstrated how complex seed ownership is today and has always been, particularly in relation to social and racial justice.
But I wasn’t there to only learn about seeds for myself. With staff from the Organic Seed Alliance, we gathered a group of organic seed farmers to learn about their research priorities and challenges. They voiced concerns about climate change, increased pest pressure, and access to diverse seed varieties.
Overall, the conference was a time to meet new people, and learn about a side of the organic industry that is crucial to the way we improve and increase organic production.
Submitted by Haley Baron, Partnership & Development Manager