For farmers, organic seeds can be hard to come by, or just downright expensive. This hasn’t mattered in the past, as organic certification focused more on how the seed was grown rather than the seed itself. However, certifiers are now clamping down on conventional seeds and pushing farmers to go organic from the start.
Over the next four years, through the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative, universities, government agencies, non-profits, and vegetable growers across the country will work to make more organic seed varieties available. They’re currently focusing on five crops: peas, broccoli, sweet corn, carrots and winter squash. Vegetable pot pie anyone?
In order to diversify our vegetable varieties, five organic farms in Oregon will participate in field research for Oregon State University to find the best seeds. Two of these farms, 47th Avenue Farm and Sauvie Island Farms, are within Portland city limits.
Laura Masterson, urban farmer at the 47th Avenue Farm, says it’s difficult to find seeds that are adapted specifically to the Pacific Northwest maritime climate. She is excited to participate in the study because it will open up access to higher quality seed options from a regional source and help farmers figure out varieties to extend the growing season.
“This means more diversity of produce later and longer at farmers markets. That’s great news for us as farmers and for consumers,” Masterson told us from the field.
We happen to be in the process of collecting info on local or sustainable seed providers too. Check out our list below, and if you have any suggestions of sweet seed suppliers that we should add, shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.