In this workshop, participants will gain an understanding of the organic seed industry, and the critical role that farmers and gardeners play in influencing the new varieties that are commercialized. We will discuss how to design and implement successful on-farm trials. In addition to helping growers identify the best varieties for their particular growing conditions and market needs, trials are an important first step in developing participatory breeding projects. We will review flower biology and seed terminology such as hybrid, OP, GMO, gene editing, and much more.
Adrienne is the Northeast Organic Product Specialist for Vitalis Organic Seeds. She earned a masters degree in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics and a doctorate in Environment and Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research included plant breeding for organic farming systems and intellectual property rights for public cultivars. Adrienne is proud to have participated in the breeding and release of Who Gets Kissed?, an open-pollinated sweet corn bred for and with organic farmers. She helped to organize the first Student Organic Sweet Symposium in Vermont in 2012, and has been actively involved with the group ever since. Adrienne serves on the board of directors for the Organic Seed Alliance, and has been engaged with the organic farming movement as a farmer, organizer, seed saver, and researcher for 15 years.
Jason Grauer is crop production and farm consulting manager at Stone Barns Center. With a degree in economics from Tufts University, Jason spent the early part of his career in the financial industry. A year spent volunteering at Stone Barns confirmed his desire to farm full time, and he spent two seasons as one of our apprentices. Jason then developed a rooftop greenhouse for Eli Zabar’s Vinegar Factory, worked at Four Season Farm in Maine and assisted with organic seed research in Cornell University’s Plant Breeding and Genetics lab, where he gained a deeper understanding of plant breeding and the seed industry. Jason also co-developed the lab’s first soil-based greenhouse for four-season food production, research and education. Today at Stone Barns Center, Jason manages the daily responsibilities and organization of field crop production, sales of vegetation from the greenhouse, and field and vegetable experimentation and research.