Seed Matters Grants Nation’s First Organic Plant-Breeding Fellowships

Seed Matters, the seed initiative of the Clif Bar Family Foundation, is now funding several Ph.D. students in organic plant breeding. The students are working to improve the quality and yield of seed for organic systems.
By Shelley Stonebrook
August/September 2013
Add to My MSN

Seed Matters' Matthew Dillon (left) and fellowship recipient Brook Brouwer (right).
Photo By Seed Matters


Content Tools

Related Content

Ditch the Van — Take the 2 Mile Challenge

Musician Ben Sollee has defined the pace and purpose of touring, ditching the van and taking the 2 M...

Testing Seed Viability

Try a simple seed viability test to see if your old seeds are worth planting.

Gardening in Small Spaces: My Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter

I’ve learned that gardening in small spaces can be challenging, but I’ve had great success with a To...

Plant Garlic in the Fall for a Larger, Healthier Crop

Do you know the best time to plant garlic? Try planting in fall instead of spring for healthy, large...

Ph.D. students in English, biology, history and dozens of other fields have long vied for fellowships that support them while they conduct research and work toward degrees. Now, the fellowship model has taken an exciting new subject under its wing.

The Clif Bar Family Foundation announced that it would be awarding the first fellowships in organic plant breeding granted in the United States. Funded through its organic seed initiative, Seed Matters, the foundation issued $375,000 in grants to fund three Ph.D. students for five years to study organic plant breeding.

Seed Matters worked directly with university professors to select the fellowship recipients. The first three graduate fellows are conducting research to improve quality, sustainability and yield of organic crops, including barley, corn, broccoli, green beans, quinoa, wheat and cover crops. Seed Matters says that as of May 2013, it had awarded six fellowships, and would reach nine by the end of the year, bringing the organization’s total fellowship commitment to more than $1 million.

In addition to equipping organic farmers with new varieties of seed adapted to organic systems, these fellowships will cultivate the next generation of leadership in organic research, education and entrepreneurship. “Organic seed systems are the underlying foundation for healthy, resilient farming and food systems,” says Matthew Dillon, director of Seed Matters. “Seed is a farmer’s first line of defense against pests and global climate disruption, and has a huge impact on the nutrition and overall quality of the food we eat.”

The Seed Matters initiative was created in 2009 with a $1 million commitment. Today, it’s a coalition of organizations and companies — including Annie’s, Earthbound Farm Organic, Eileen Fisher, Organically Grown Company, Organic Valley, Vitalis Seed and Whole Foods Market — that advocate for the improvement and conservation of organic seeds and crops that are healthy for people and planet.

We’ll raise a packet of organic seed to that!


Shelley Stonebrook is MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine’s main gardening editor. She’s passionate about growing healthy, sustainable food and taking care of our environment. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and .








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.