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Seeds
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Wheat varieties
One of Washington State's up and coming wheat breeding lines, WA007977. Photo courtesy of Margaret A. Gollnick, Washington State University.


Articles
Practical advice on why and how to incorporate vegetable seed production into existing farming systems.

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Eli RogosaThe Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) brought a powerful message of hope for a return to agricultural sanity when its board met in Maine in July 2008, visited farms and seed companies (Johnny’s and Fedco), and gave talks and toured plots at the Common Ground Education Center of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in Unity.

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Proceedings available online.

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Frank MortonIf you’re like me, practicality is a seasonal personality trait. By July, all my January fantasies have grown into knee-high, full-time facts. Summer points out the conditions of my farm that far-out seed catalog descriptions glossed out of my mind as I made my order.

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This winter I attended my second biennial Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) conference in Oregon. Upon returning from my first, I intended to write a "travel report” for my community here in Maine, but it was the busy time in the seeds season, and one thing led to another until I had procrastinated way past the point of timeliness.

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Frank MortonFrank Morton has been breeding and experimenting with vegetables for some 25 years. Varieties that grow well under organic cultivation on both coasts are offered in quantities of ½ ounce or more in his Wild Garden Seed catalog from Gathering Together Farm, PO Box 1509, Philomath, OR 97370. Morton was the keynote speaker at MOFGA and Cooperative Extension’s Farmer to Farmer Conference last November.

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The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) Organic Seed Database at http://seeds.omri.org/ provides accurate information on the availability and supply of hundreds of certified organic seed varieties, to help growers and certifiers find supplies of organic seed.

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We integrate tomato seed production at Snakeroot Organic Farm into our overall tomato production and marketing strategy. Most of our quarter acre of tomatoes are marketed fresh at the six farmers' markets we attend each week. We grow twenty to thirty varieties, hybrids and open pollinated; cherries, standards and paste; reds, pinks, purples and yellows.

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Illustration by Sue SzwedBehind every packet of seed is an individual story and an entire history. The story of the seed ranges from an heirloom passed from generation to generation to the hybrid bred for perfect uniformity and ripening.

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A report called "Suicide Seeds on the Fast Track," released by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), reveals that Terminator and Traitor technologies are riding a fast track to commercialization. Terminator technology, the genetic engineering of plants to produce sterile seeds, is universally considered the most morally offensive application of agricultural biotechnology, since over 1.4 billion people depend on farm-saved seeds.

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