2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To provide organic farmers in the Northern United States with improved vegetable varieties that are developed and tested on organic farms. Organic farmers and small-scale seed companies that are trained in the production of high quality organic seed of vegetable crops. A set of training modules for vegetable crops for participatory breeding and seed production of organic vegetables.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Germplasm of heirloom vegetables and modern varieties will be used in a participatory plant breeding approach to develop improved organic vegetable varieties that are developed and trialed on organic farms at three regional northern hubs in Oregon, Wisconsin, and New York. Training modules on participatory breeding and small scale organic seed production of vegetables will be developed. Information and varieties developed will be disseminated through trialing on organic farmers, at field days and training workshops, through brochures and on the internet through eOrganic and eXtension. PGRU will also provide the public face of the project through demonstrations and outreach at the Common Ground Fair in Unity, ME, mid-September each year of the project.
NOVIC is a Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement (RSA) with Oregon State University wherein PGRU has held the lead role in the project, i.e., the extension of small-scale seed production of heirloom vegetable germplasm and new public open-pollinated varieties bred by organic farmers and small-scale seed producers.
Presentations, hands-on demonstrations and workshops were conducted at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, ME on September 21-23, 2012 as well as at the Mother Earth News Fair, of the same date, in Seven Springs, PA. These outreach presentations represent the major events for the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC) in FY2012. Three formal demonstrations will be made by PGRU staff for each day of the three days of the Common Ground Fair. PGRU in collaboration with Cornell graduate students also made presentations about NOVIC and gave seed cleaning demonstrations at the Mother Earth News Fair.
In addition to these workshops, NOVIC was represented by PGRU at NOFA –NY’s Annual Winter Conference, January 20-22, 2012, Saratoga Springs, where several varieties of carrots from the NOVIC trials were presented in a taste-test. More than 20 conference attendees stopped by the NOVIC booth to taste the different varieties and rate them. We had approximately 300 people stop by to ask about the program during the conference. The first day of the conference a poster was presented about NOVIC and its various activities. During NOFA – VT’s Winter Conference, Burlington, VT, February 11-12, 2012, there were nearly 250 people who stopped by the booth in order to acquire information about NOVIC. During this conference we made a presentation about NOVIC and its seed saving component. There were over 100 people in attendance, some conference-goers sitting on the floor or standing in the hall in order to hear the presentation.
All of these workshops and conferences serve small-scale farmers and organic grower populations. They provide essential training in incorporating small-scale seed production into their existing farm systems. These workshops also provide the means to display the mobile seed processing unit. This unit consists of various mechanical and manual seed processing and threshing devices used in wet and dry seed processing. During workshops and demonstrations, organic farmers and small-scale seed producers were trained and given the opportunity to clean their own seed using the equipment provided for by the mobile seed processing unit. NOVIC represents a continuing phase of two previous RSAs’ with Cornell University’s Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics; The Public Seed Initiative (PSI) and the Organic Seed Partnership (OSP).
In the summer of 2012, the Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU) assisted with the Broccoli and Snap Pea videos for modules for these crops. These modules are in collaboration with Michael Mazourek, Michael Glos, and James Keach from Cornell University. We will also work to provide a NOVIC CD containing the modules for all five crops (squash, broccoli, snap peas, sweet corn, and carrot) dependent on the availability of the modules. Once the modules and other required information are received we will provide this information via a CD in web browser format. We will use a CD/DVD duplicator with printable CD’s to produce the required number of CD’s. The professional-looking silk-screen printed/laminated disks will be available for distribution at appropriate venues.