On-Farm Seed Production
A region’s ability to adapt genetically resilient crops to it’s environment is critical to food security. Across the 13,000 year history of agriculture, that has been the solemn vocation of farmers. In the past 100 years, farmers have lost control of their seed to the massive centralization of global seed systems. The organic farming movement has provided the safest haven for seed diversity in American agriculture, often favoring workhorse open pollinated varieties, over modern hybrids. Our climate is changing, however, and those varieties need careful stewardship and improvement to continue to serve our needs and remain productive in our diversified organic farming systems. This workshop will cover essential seed biology, on-farm considerations for producing seed crops suitable for New England, and introduce the concepts necessary for robust varietal maintenance and development. Introductory on-farm variety trialing and participatory plant breeding will also be discussed.