Student threshes lettuce seed at ARS-sponsored
workshop at last years Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Me. Manual
seed-threshing equipment will also be available at this year's workshops.
ARS Workshops Enrich Organic Farming Tour
Pons July 28, 2006
by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will be part of an education and
discussion tour aimed at small-scale organic farmers and seed companies in the
The on-farm serieswhich kicks off on Tuesday, Aug. 1, in
Freeville, N.Y.is presented by the Organic Seed Partnership (OSP) and the Northeast Organic
Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY).
All events are free and open to the public, although registration is required
ARS and NOFA-NY are cooperators in OSP, a national network developing
superior vegetable varieties for use in organic systems. Other collaborators in
the effort include Cornell University,
New Mexico State University,
Alcorn State University,
West Virginia State University and the
University of California-Davis.
Members of the ARS Plant Genetics Research Unit (PGRU),
which is based in Geneva, N.Y., are involved in the workshops.
According to PGRU plant geneticist
Robertson, OSP grew out of the Public Seed Initiative, an organic,
on-farm breeding, testing and seed-production project which has sponsored
similar tours for the past three years.
First in this year's series is the
Organic Farm Field Day, which will feature a full-farm tour during which
trials of organic potato, cucurbit, pepper and tomato varieties will be
The centerpiece of many workshop sessions will be demonstrations of a
mobile seed-processing unit, which farmers will be able to use to clean their
seed. This unit will be a part of tour events on Aug. 12 in Amherst, Mass.;
Aug. 30 in Peru, N.Y.; September 5 at Norwich, N.Y.; Sept. 16 at Newark, N.Y.;
Sept. 22 and 23 at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Me.; and Oct. 11 in
On Aug. 22, the tour visits Flanders, N.Y., where breeding and
seed-saving techniques will be discussed.
For more information, visit the websites of the OSP (http://www.organicseedpartnership.org/)
and NOFA-NY (http://www.nofany.org/).
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency, while NOFA promotes healthy
food, organic farming practices and a cleaner environment.