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Organic Seed Growers Conference ushers in new decade

March 15, 2020

The 10th Organic Seed Growers Conference drew more than 400 participants Feb. 12-15, in Corvallis, Ore.

Participants represented 36 U.S. states and 12 countries. An additional 100 people joined the conference via live webinar. Organic Seed Alliance co-hosted the event with Oregon State University, Washington State University’s Food Systems Program and eOrganic.

The conference always includes a packed agenda of presentations, panel discussions, networking events and time for celebration. More than 80 experts presented on topics including organic seed growing, plant breeding, seed economics, policy advocacy, seed ethics and more.

This milestone 10th biennial conference theme charged participants to: Reflect. Renew. Resolve. The new decade provided inspiration for participants to look back and take stock of growth in the organic seed sector while collectively creating a future for organic seed that advances the health of both people and the planet, as well as social justice.

“OSA was inspired by the diversity of perspectives and practices represented at the event,” said Cara Loriz, executive director. “Our hope is that the organic seed sector – and the movement underpinning its integrity and success – is strengthened by the discussion, debate, and relationship building that took place.”

The keynote speaker was Ricardo Salvador, senior scientist and director of the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Salvador is a renowned expert on the connections between food and health, the environment, food sovereignty and social justice. His address provided a painful reminder that U.S. agriculture was built through the exploitation of people and charged everyone to understand this history as they collaborate on creating a more just food system.

Ahead of the conference, more than 100 participants loaded buses to visit seed production and plant breeding locations around the Willamette Valley, a tour sponsored by Oregon Tilth. The conference also offered an all-day seed ethics intensive, organic plant breeding intensive, and variety trial and culinary evaluation intensive.

In conjunction with eOrganic, six sessions were offered free and open to the public as live webinars. To view the recordings, go to www.seedalliance.org.

Organic Seed Alliance advances ethical seed solutions to meet food and farming needs in a changing world. Learn more at www.seedalliance.org.