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Grants Support Organic Seed Variety Development

The Organic Farming Research Foundation announced that it has awarded four new grants to support researcher/farmer collaborations in the areas of crop breeding and organic seed development, in response to organic producer needs identified in a national survey. The first grant, to Sarah Hargreaves at the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, supports three breeding projects focused on providing best practices for adapting to climate change with vegetable varieties that are locally adapted to low-input organic systems for southern Ontario and the northeastern United States. The second grant, to Helen Jensen at Seed Change, supports the evaluation of selection methods and efficacy in on-farm breeding of organic wheat and oat varieties. The third grant was awarded to Carol Deppe at Fertile Valley Seeds to breed disease-resistant heirloom-quality tomatoes. The fourth grant, to Lee-Ann Hill at Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, will look beyond the marketability of heritage grains to explore their impact on soil health, climate adaptivity, weed pressure, and insect pressure through farmer-driven, participatory research. Research data collected from this project will be published in a free online Heritage Grain Trials Handbook.