The Organic Seed Alliance’s 9th Grower’s Conference was held this month in Corvallis, Oregon, and saw huge crowds. The conference drew more than 600 members, 400 of which attended the event in Oregon, while around 200 joined the conference through online webinars and cameras. People visited the conference from 31 states, 9 countries, and 18 universities.
This conference is the largest of its kind, focusing solely on organic seed in North America. The event welcomed over 70 expert speakers, presenting on a multitude of topics over the course of the weekend, from organic seed growing and plant breeding to seed economy and policies.
This year, the theme for the conference – Synergy that Sustains – was conceived to recognize that the organic seed community is incredibly diverse and is growing rapidly. The theme and panels focused on the differences in approaches, regions, and stakeholders involved throughout the community, and acknowledge that the community is strongest when these differences are brought together and focused on what connect the community: synergy.
“Celebrating seed and the community that sustains it is such a privilege for the team at OSA,” says OSA Executive Director Cara Loriz. “We hope that the information shared and the meaningful connections made give renewed energy to this important work.”
Keynote speaker Congressman Peter DeFazio discussed the importance of the Farm Bill, and his own working on the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which established the statutory foundation for national organic standards. Congressman DeFazio has spent a large portion of his career as a spoke person for an organic farming future.
In order to meet demands for education on the economics of commercial seed production, the conference opened with a full day intensive workshop, where 80 beginner and experienced seed growers alike learned about how to use enterprise budget tools to evaluate capital investments, expand operations, and assess market opportunities. The intensive workshop allowed these farmers to learn from real-world case studies, and have their questions on the subject answered by experts.
The Organic Seed Alliance partnered with eOrganic this year to bring six free online sessions to those who could not attend the event in person. All of these sessions were recorded and will be available on their YouTube channel in weeks to come.
As one of the most successful conferences for this organization, it is certain that The Organic Seed Alliance’s Grower’s Conference will continue to grow in the future.
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