Most modern crop varieties are bred to respond to high inputs of chemical fertilizer and pesticides. By breeding crops in low input, organic systems and retaining genetic variability, it is possible to create resilient crops with greater adaptation to low inputs and environmental stress. Navazio will discuss why open-pollinated varieties are better suited to ongoing adaptation breeding in organics, and show examples of plant breeding.
John Navazio, Ph.D., is a senior scientist for the Organic Seed Alliance and an extension seed specialist for Washington State University. Navazio trains farmers and students in organic seed production and on-farm organic plant breeding. He also breeds crops for increased nutritional quality, flavor, ability to compete with weeds, and to resist cold and drought. Navazio develops participatory breeding projects with farmers to strengthen regional seed independence.
Visit www.organicseedalliance.org for more information.