Jul 7, 2023

RSVP today to join the Organic Seed Alliance and University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Seed to Kitchen Collaborative for the Midwest Regional Seed and Plant Breeding Field Day on Saturday, August 19, 2023. We’ll learn about organic seed production and plant breeding methods from our hosts Nature and Nurture Seeds, along with presenters from OSA and the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative. Come on out and explore the farm fields and seed cleaning equipment, discuss current plant breeding projects, share tips on producing and selling high-quality seeds, and taste and evaluate soon-to-be-released crop varieties. If you are an aspiring seed saver or plant breeder, or if you are ready to take the next step in growing from hobby to enterprise scale, bring your questions and be ready to learn together with the group! Refreshments will be provided.

If you plan to go, please RSVP at the link below. The day before, the Organic Seed Alliance is also holding a Farm Bill Town Hall with Senator Stabenow’s Team also at Nature and Nurture Seeds Farm. Questions? Contact Michael Lordon at RSVP Today

Feb 2, 2023

If you are a farmer or gardener in the Upper Midwest, and would like to trial some new seed varieties in 2023, registration is now open! The trials this year will include two different tomato breeding trials, a pepper breeding trial and potato trials with breeding lines from the University of Wisconsin program. You can find their descriptions at the links below. You will also find information there on how to sign up for other crops through SeedLinked, which are run by other trialing programs in the Upper Midwest.

Dec 12, 2022

Join us for a series of six webinars in January and February 2023. on organic plant breeding for independent plant breeders, farmers interested in selection, regional seed companies and plant breeding students. The webinars will be led by the Organic Seed Alliance and collaborators on a NIFA OREI funded project on collaborative plant breeding project in the Upper Midwest. Although the content will be targeted to the Upper Midwest, much of the material will be relevant to other regions as well. Participants will benefit from online interaction with independent breeders, seed company breeders and farmer breeders from around the U.S. Webinars will be interactive and accompanied by an online resources section. All presentations will take place at 11AM Pacific, 12 Mountain, 1 Central and 2 Eastern Time. Registering just once will allow you to attend all the webinars in the series!

Register now at

  • January 10, 2023: Goal Setting and Breeding Project Design. This webinar will explore the early stages of developing a breeding project, identifying the market need for certain traits, articulating clear goals, and designing the project to efficiently achieve the goals. We will cover how to set up organizational systems and use tools such as SeedLinked to streamline data collection. Participants will also learn how to connect with on-farm trial sites and partners.
    Presenters: Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin Madison; Keith Mueller, KC Tomato; Erica Kempter, Nature & Nurture Seeds; Nico Enjalbert, SeedLinked; Jenn Cava, University of Wisconsin; Moderator: Michael Lordon, Organic Seed Allience.
  • January 17, 2023: Selecting High-quality Breeding Material. This webinar will include how to vet and access breeding material from a variety of sources, and how to define criteria for selecting parents. Specific topics will include using the National Plant Germplasm System and international genebanks, accessing germplasm from other breeding programs, how to write and negotiate Material Transfer Agreements, and best practices for intellectual property protection.
  • January 24, 2023: Management Considerations for Seed Quality. Participants will deepen their understanding of seed-borne diseases and techniques for control. This webinar will include resources and protocols for seed testing in public and private labs, organic-approved seed sanitation procedures, and seed treatment options using hot water or steam. Experts on seed pathology will be presenters and review content. This will be especially relevant to the Upper Midwest, since cold springs and humid summers present challenges in organic seed production. 
  • January 31, 2023: Getting to Variety Release. This webinar will provide participants with strategies for navigating the process of variety release and commercialization. It will also include considerations about producing and selling seed in-house versus licensing to a larger seed company. We will cover how to make connections with seed companies, intellectual property options, and how to approach royalty agreement negotiations. Presenters will include representatives from company licensing offices as well as independent breeders with successful licensing agreements. 
  • February 7, 2023: Scaling up Seed Production. This webinar will include how to create an enterprise budget for seed production at different scales, including how to do a cost/benefit analysis for producing seed in-house and selling retail, selling wholesale to larger companies, or licensing a variety and letting a third party handle seed production. It will cover how much stock seed to produce for seed company partners to trial, how to maintain breeder and stock seed, how to contract seed production including example contract terms, how to find organic seed production partners and how to conduct quality control for seed produced under contract. 
  • February 14, 2023: Data Management and Analysis. Specific topics will be determined based on the interests of the Midwest regional network on the Organic Seed Commons. They will likely include tracking pedigrees, managing crossing blocks, early generation nursery data management, understanding genotype by environment interactions in multi-locational trials, how to get the most out of the data analysis tools provided through SeedLinked, and resources for more advanced analysis.
Aug 8, 2022

The Midwest Collaborative Plant Breeding Field Day took place in Madison, WI on August 24th, 2022. The event featured presentations from research teams at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) who are involving farmers and chefs in their efforts to develop new cultivars of crops such as tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and corn. Attendees were also invited to taste and provide feedback on some of the fruits and vegetables that had been harvested from these breeding projects.

Read a blogpost about the event here!

Photo credit: Anders Gurda

Jun 6, 2022

Farm to FlavorIf you are in Madison, Wisconsin on August 21st, join the Culinary Breeding Network, the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative and the Artisan Grain Collaborative for an engaging evening of conversation, learning, and tasting. This public event will bring together plant breeders, farmers, chefs, bakers, and beverage manufacturers to discuss and demonstrate the benefits of participatory plant breeding. The evening will provide the opportunity for researchers, growers, and end-users to play an essential role in guiding the development of new crop varieties. This year's "Farm to Flavor" will have a special emphasis on culinary grains including wheat, rye, oats, barley, and corn.  Several NIFA OREI projects will be showcasing their breeding work, including Value-added Grains for Local and Regional Food Systems II, led by Mark Sorrells of Cornell University; Developing Multi-use Naked Barley for Organic Systems, led by Patrick Hayes and Brigid Meints at Oregon State University; and Collaborative Plant Breeding Network Development for Organic Systems in the Upper Midwest, led by Julie Dawson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Date: August 21 
  • Time: 5-8pm
  • Location: Garver Feed Mill, Madison, WI 

Register Here:  
Registration fees: $25 Early Registration June 13 - July 21, $35 Registration July 22 - August 22 (Online ticket sales end at 12 noon), $35 at the door.

Aug 8, 2021

September 1, 2021: Midwest Regional Seeds Field Day: Selecting, saving, and selling regionally adapted varieties on your farm.

Join us for the Midwest Regional Seeds Field Day on September 1, 2021! Learn how seed saving farmers make selections to improve or maintain crop varieties, and how working with seed companies and universities can strengthen your farm operation. Topics and demonstrations will include regionally specific seed saving techniques, useful tools for both small-scale and wholesale seed growers, and more to be determined. See how regionally adapted seed varieties are bred by and for organic farmers. Hosted by Organic Seed Alliance and Greg Reynolds of Riverbend Farm, in collaboration with Koby Jeshkeit-Hagen of Seed Sages, and Dr. Julie Dawson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This field day is being offered free of charge, though pre-registration is required.
Click here to register

Not in the area or prefer to watch online? No problem, we’ll come to you! Join us live on Instagram at 4:00, 5:00 and 6:00 pm CDT for virtual tours of the farm and to chat with presenters and participants during the event. Follow OSA on Instagram @organic_seed_alliance and turn on notifications for live videos so you don’t miss it!
Questions? Contact Michael Lordon.

Feb 2, 2021

Invitation to Join the 2021 MOSES Seed Roundtables

The Upper Midwest Collaborative Plant Breeding Network would like to invite you to join one or more of our seed round tables at the 2021 MOSES Organic Farming Conference, February 23, 24, 25, and 26 from 3:00 - 4:00 PM CST. These roundtables focus on vegetable varieties for organic production, and are presented by FairShare CSA Coalition, UW-Madison, SeedLinked, Organic Seed Alliance, and eOrganic.

If you are not already attending the MOSES Conference and would like to join us as an expert or simply listen to the conversation, please let us know so we can help you get a guest ticket to attend. Descriptions of the four round tables sessions are below: 

Tuesday, Feb 23 at 3 p.m. CST: Bountiful Brassicas, Gorgeous Greens: Vegetable Variety Choice

Join other growers, plant breeders, and researchers to discuss your favorite varieties of broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach and more. Hear downy mildew resistance outcomes from 2020 basil trials. We’ll discuss availability of organic seed, the traits you want to see in new varieties, and opportunities to get involved in on-farm trialing and stay up-to-date with trial outcomes.

Wednesday, Feb 24 at 3p.m. CST: Tomato & Pepper Varieties for Organic Growers

Join us to talk about tomatoes and peppers! Share your favorite varieties for slicers, cocktail and cherry tomatoes, and more, as well as peppers from sweet to hot. We’ll discuss variety availability, the traits you want to see in new varieties, and opportunities to get involved in on-farm trialing and stay up-to-date with trial outcomes.

Thursday, Feb 25 at 3p.m. CST: Oh My Gourd: Melon, Cucumber & Winter Squash Varieties for Organic Growers

Join other growers, plant breeders, and researchers to talk about cucurbits - the pros and cons of your workhorse varieties, traits you want to see in new varieties, availability of organic seed, and more. We’ll share opportunities to get involved in on-farm trialing and stay up-to-date with trial outcomes.

Friday, Feb 26 at 3p.m. CST: Breeding & Seed Production Roundtable

Organic Seed Alliance will highlight trial results from vegetable trials initiated at last year's MOSES Conference seed roundtables, and are being carried out as a part of the Upper Midwest Plant Breeding Collaborative Network.

To join the Collaborative Breeding in the Upper Midwest network, sign up here!