Pacific Northwest Organic Breeding Symposium – Seed Alliance Announcement

CONTACT

Cathleen McCluskey, Organic Seed Alliance, (360) 472-0247, cathleen@seedalliance.org.

First-Ever Pacific Northwest Organic Plant Breeding Symposium to be Held in February

Port Townsend, WA – Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) will host a symposium this winter to identify opportunities and priorities for advancing organic plant breeding in the Pacific Northwest. The symposium will be held in conjunction with OSA’s 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference on February 3, 2016, in Corvallis, Oregon.

“The long-term goal of this symposium is to increase farmer access to regionally appropriate vegetable, grain, and pulse seed well-suited for organic production,” says Micaela Colley, executive director of Organic Seed Alliance. “Farmers who follow organic practices must focus more on prevention and resistance because they have fewer inputs at their disposal. They need crop varieties developed specifically for low-input systems – crops that mitigate pest and disease pressures, and that are adapted to their Pacific Northwest conditions and climates.”

Organic farmers face different challenges than their conventional counterparts, such as having fewer allowable inputs available for dealing with pest and disease pressures. To date, plant breeding efforts focused on organic systems have been minimal, and organic farmers remain under served in seed adapted to organic conditions. Research demonstrates that varieties developed under conventional, chemical-intensive conditions are not always successful in organic and other low-input systems.

The symposium – which focuses on the needs of growers in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho – will bring together stakeholders representing the organic production chain. Public and private plant breeders will be joined by farmers, seed distributors, food processors, and other seed and food professionals to identify critical gaps in crop availability and quality in the Pacific Northwest.

The information gathered from this targeted group will advise public plant breeding efforts through a report that includes detailed recommendations. In addition to the targeted participant invitations, individuals working in the Pacific Northwest organic production chain may apply to participate in this working symposium by filling out an application at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W3FYBQD.

Applications must be completed by November 30, 2015, to be considered. Space is limited.

OSA is co-hosting this symposium with Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides. The symposium is made possible thanks to support from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2014-67013-22404.

About Organic Seed Alliance: Organic Seed Alliance advances the ethical development and stewardship of the genetic resources of agricultural seed. Each year we educate thousands of farmers and other agricultural community members, conduct professional organic plant breeding and other seed research, and advocate for national policies that strengthen organic seed systems.

Learn more at http://www.seedalliance.org.

Travelling World Community Film Festival March 25 – April 2, 2015

Schedule2015 March 30 lunch notice2015 March 30 eve notice

Mobile Farm Bookstore coming to Prince George and McBride

Prince George: May 31st, 4pm-7pm at the District C Farmers’ Institute Social, Ferndale Hall

McBride: June 7th, 1am – 3pm at McBride’s Pioneer Days, Main St. & 1st Ave (in the park shelter)

Have you ever wanted to pursue a new farming enterprise but felt you lacked access to critical information? We are now bringing it to your door with over 200 farming titles on topics from small scale cheese operations, to raising llamas, to designing drip irrigation, to building fencing, to CSA box recipe books. Not only will we offer all titles at 25% discount from their retail price, but all sales will go directly back into supporting programs for local farmers. We’ll even have copies of free publications for you to pick up!

Come and visit us to learn just how much information is available to you. Consider picking out a gift for your favourite farmer or farming fanatic.

Regional and Canadian Seed Security Initiative Meeting

May 25th, 1pm, Twin Meadows Organics, McBride

Wendy and Garry would like to invite everyone interested in a regional seed development initiative – and building community around regional food security – to come to their farm on Sunday, May 25th for a discussion around this important subject.

Rupert Adams will be visiting the farm at this time to share his knowledge. Rupert has been growing food, medicinal herbs and seeds for around 13 years, through intentional communities, organic and bio-dynamic farms. He has spent the past eight years working with Salt Spring Seeds, Dan Jason, and the Salt Spring Seed Sanctuary. During his time he has been working alongside many seed growers to actively increase the production and availability of ecologically grown seed, to meet an ever-increasing demand. Participating and teaching at various Seed Saving and Community Seed Bank workshops he is a passionate “seedy”. Continuing to grow food and medicinal herb seeds, Rupert is now also working with the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, an initiative whose focus is to increase the availability of ecologically grown seed in Canada. Rupert is committed to working with farmers and growers to facilitate the move towards seed and hence food security in Canada.

The road to the farm is finally dried out – so you will have no problems coming in to the farm even in a small car.  Wendy and Garry ask that everyone bring a lawn chair, and any snacks or drinks to add to their refreshments.

They are looking forward to this gathering, even in this very busy part of our season. Our local food security and building community around this important subject warrants all of us to make a few hours for coming together.  RSVP would be appreciated.

With Kindness and Gratitude,

Garry & Wendy Lowe
250-569-7810
glowe@twinmeadowsorganics.com

Beyond the Market update for the end of April 2014

Exciting exhibit planned for the Northwest Trade Expo

May 2nd, 3pm-9pm and May 3rd, 10am – 6pm

Smithers Arena

We previously mentioned that we would be travelling to Smithers to set up a exhibition booth and the Northwest Trade Expo, and we are especially excited to announce that this event will be a test event for our new pilot project: our mobile farm bookstore. We will be combining an innovative mobile display design with a complete collection of valuable titles on farming and agriculture.

Have you ever wanted to pursue a new farming enterprise but felt you lacked access to critical information? We are now bringing it to your door with over 200 farming titles on topics from small scale cheese operations, to raising llamas, to designing drip irrigation, to building fencing, to CSA box recipe books. Not only will we offer all titles at steep discount from their retail price, but all sales will go directly back into supporting programs for local farmers. We’ll even have copies of free publications for you to pick up!

So please join us in Smithers at the Northwest Trade Expo on the fantastic weekend! The Expo is open Friday, May 2nd from 3 to 9 pm and Saturday, May 3rd from 10 am to 6 pm.You’ll find great door prizes; stage entertainment; vast array of exhibitors, products and services. Lots to do for the kids – the Balloon Guy will be there and there will be face painting and pony rides. See you at the Civic Arena May 2 & 3 for the Northwest Trade Expo. $3 per person; or $10 for a family.

PS. Our next stop with the mobile bookstore is June 7th in McBride for the Robson Valley Pioneer Days. See you there!

Open Forum on Proposed Changes to the ALR (Tomorrow)

Thursday April 24, 7-9pm at the Prince George Public Library
Join local farmers and area residents to learn more about Bill 24 and proposed changes to the ALR. Come participate in the discussion and ask questions. Everyone welcome. Contact: Marli Bodhi, mbodhi@unbc.ca

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Business Succession Strategies Workshop

Coming to Vanderhoof, Burns Lake and Houston next week
Over the next few years, about 1/4 of all BC businesses will go on the market for sale. In years past, the population and demographics easily supported new buyers to take over these businesses. This is no longer the case. The entrepreneur shortage is expected to last the next couple of decades, which will place many British Columbia businesses at risk, especially in rural communities.Who will buy all these businesses? More importantly, who will buy your business, and what can you do to improve your return from a sale? Get the information you need to plan and prepare for your desired succession. Understand your exit options. Ensure your business gets exposed to the right market. Maximize its value when you sell.

More info in our online events calendar

Terrace Small Animal & Poultry Sale

11am – 1pm, May 3rd, Thornhill Fairgrounds
http://www.northernbcpoultry.com

Small Town Love Project Expands

Already in Valemount, Vanderhoof, Fort St. James and Burns Lake, the Small Town Love project it is now coming to McBride, Houston, Smithers, Telkwa, Fraser Lake and Granisle. This is a great cooperative marketing program for all small businesses, including your farm! A one-time $100 fee gets you professional photography, writing, promotional tools, great exposure and more! In our opinion, it’s the best bang for your buck out there. For more info, visit http://smalltownlove.com/

Land & Labour Exchange

In need of farm land or farm hands? Send Jillian your requests and she’ll include them in our newsletter. Consider also posting them on our online classifieds: http://www.beyondthemarket.ca/classifieds/

  • Land wanted: Couple relocating to Prince George from Robson Valley area and seeking lease opportunity for market garden. They are in search of something with a residence and at least an acre of good soil. Contact Beyond the Market to get in touch with these potential tenants.
  • Land available: Lease of long-time small livestock operation in Prince George area coming available. 25 acre parcel partially cleared and completely fenced. Residence is a two bedroom trailer. Outbuildings consist of a 24′ X 24′ barn with tack room, hay storage and water, tool/workshop, vehicle storage shed (rough), 2 chicken houses with water and a small brooder house, and various other small sheds and animal housing. Owner would consider a 5 year lease to potential new farmers. Currently there are 85 hens, 7 sheep and 6 goats. These could be included depending on timing. The farm is in operating condition, but requires consistent maintenance. Many tools and equipment could be included for right tenants. Contact beyond the Market to get in touch with the owner.
  • Donation sought: the Downtown Prince George Community Garden is seeking the donation of a load of composted manure for the garden. Garden volunteers can pick the manure up, but will need a farm with a loader to put manure into the truck. Contact Terri at REAPS if you can help the community garden out: 250-561-7327

The Beyond the Market Project
T: 250-562-9622 | T: 1-800-661-2055 | E: jillianm@cfdc.bc.ca | F: 250-562-9119
www.beyondthemarket.ca

Community Futures Fraser Fort George has been successfully delivering services to small business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as leveraging much needed capital into the local economy since 1987. Services include business coaching, small business training and workshops, micro and small business loans, business plan and implementation services, networking opportunities, and business information services.

Helping Organic Farmers Breed the Seed They Need

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEApril 4, 2014 CONTACT
Kristina Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance, (406) 544-8946,
kristina@seedalliance.org

Helping Organic Farmers Breed the Seed They Need
New publications provide on-farm organic plant breeding instruction
Port Townsend, WA

Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) announced today the release of four organic plant breeding manuals that walk farmers through the methods of breeding new crop varieties on their farm. They include an introduction to on-farm organic plant breeding and three crop-specific breeding manuals covering carrots, sweet corn, and tomatoes. “One of our goals is to empower organic farmers to breed their own crop varieties,” says OSA Executive Director Micaela Colley. “The methods described in these manuals can immediately be adopted by farmers to improve their skills in plant breeding, and, ultimately, improve their operations through seed varieties that are well-suited to their farms.” Introduction to On-farm Organic Plant Breeding provides farmers an overview of basic genetics, farm-based experimental design, and breeding techniques appropriate for organic farms, among other useful background and instruction. The introductory guide provides the scientific foundation for the crop-specific instruction provided in the other three guides: How to Breed Carrots for Organic Agriculture, How to Breed Sweet Corn for Organic Agriculture, and How to Breed Tomatoes for Organic Agriculture. Each crop-specific manual provides step-by-step instruction from identifying good breeding material to maintaining a new variety for quality and uniformity. The manuals are published at a time when organic farms are rarely targeted as breeding environments in plant breeding programs. The vast majority of plant breeding continues to focus on developing varieties for high-input, conventional farms – varieties that depend on external chemical inputs to produce optimal yield and quality. Organic systems differ from conventional ones in a number of ways, including the timing of nutrient availability, the variability of field conditions, and the amount of insect, disease, and weed pressure. With a limited number of options to combat production problems, organic farmers rely on prevention through crop rotation, soil management strategies, and the use of appropriate crop genetics. While progress has been made in developing best management practices, little has been done to develop varieties suited to organic systems – a strategy that could be equally important over time. “To increase organic farmers’ success, we must increase the number of varieties bred for organic systems,” says Colley. “One of the groups best suited to do this breeding work is organic farmers themselves.” The interest among organic farmers to practice plant breeding is growing. In response to a survey conducted with certified organic crop growers, 60% of respondents said they are interested in conducting on-farm crop improvement/breeding on their farm, especially if training and economic incentives are available. Furthermore, each year, demand for OSA’s plant breeding trainings and field days is overwhelming, with nearly 1,000 farmers attending these educational events in 2013 alone. Many university and industry professionals are also interested in expanding their work with farmers. Since the manuals are geared toward farm-based projects, the methods also support formal breeders who already engage, or wish to engage, farmers in their plant breeding programs. These publications were made possible thanks to the generous support from Organic Farming Research Foundation and Clif Bar Family Foundation’s Seed Matters initiative. They are available for free download at http://seedalliance.org/publications.

Organic Seed Alliance advances the ethical development and stewardship of seed

# # #
C a t h l e e n  M c C l u s k e y
Communications and Outreach Associate
Organic Seed Alliance
PO Box 772
Port Townsend, WA 98368

email  || cathleen@seedalliance.org
web    || www.seedalliance.org
phone || 360.472.0247

GM Alfalfa Release – DELAYED

Shows a happy bee with a "Thank you for taking action" captioned.

Breaking News: GM Alfalfa Release Delayed!

Your actions are working! Thanks to all your protest, we have kept GM alfalfa off the market this spring!

The company Forage Genetics International will not release genetically modified (GM) alfalfa this spring, thanks to farmer and consumer opposition. Your continued protest, culminating in last year’s national Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa, has delayed the release of GM alfalfa in Canada. Thank you for taking effective action with CBAN!

The corporate decision to delay the introduction of GM alfalfa was confirmed in the Western Producer newspaper and builds upon recent statements made by seed companies in Quebec and Ontario.

Even though the Canadian government has approved GM herbicide-tolerant alfalfa, it has not yet been sold in Canada. The GM alfalfa uses Monsanto’s GM “Roundup Ready” herbicide tolerant trait, and would be sold by Forage Genetics International.

The industry launched a “coexistence plan” last year that failed to allay concerns about contamination from GM alfalfa, and farmer and consumer protest continues.

Donate today www.cban.ca/donate

Your continued action and support is needed as we work to protect family farms from GM alfalfa contamination. Join us.

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca
https://www.facebook.com/cban.canadian.biotechnology.action.network
@biotechaction