OFRF Grants: Participatory Plant Breeding for Organic Whole Grains

Field crops such as wheat, which are grown on large-scale acreage, present organic growers with unique challenges in managing weeds, pests, and fertility. Dr. Stephen Jones, a professor at Washington State University and Director of the WSU Bread Lab, received OFRF research grants between 2001 and 2003 in support of his development of organic wheat varieties. Jones and his team have produced wheat with higher than typical levels of iron and other micronutrients.

Dr. Kevin Murphy, who is also a professor at WSU, received an OFRF grant in 2010 for his farmer-based evolutionary participatory plant breeding project for organic quinoa, buckwheat, and spelt. Murphy’s webinar, Organic Quinoa Production, continues to be a valuable resource for farmers interested in the basics of quinoa production.

Murphy received another grant from OFRF in 2014 in support of his work to identify barley breeding lines most adapted to organic farmers in Washington State and Northern Idaho. This project includes an elite team of chef collaborators that are working with the research team and farmers to test flour from the different barley lines for both performance and flavor.