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‘Seed to Eaters’ Symposium, Jan 25, 9:00am - 5:00pm

Seed is the foundation of a vibrant and enduring food system. It determines our personal health, the health of our land, the flavors and nutrition of our food, and the success of the farmers who feed us all.

In recent years, various forward-thinking participants within the food system have begun collaborating to improve established seed varieties, and develop new ones to better meet our needs.

Hear from wholesalers, plant breeders, and seed growers who have partnered to create new varieties to fill seasonal gaps, and from grocers and chefs who have joined forces with local farmers to find and promote exciting new varieties that thrive in the field and shine on the produce shelf and the dinner plate.

Then, enjoy an interactive showcase where you can taste and hear stories about a diverse range of unique, delicious, vegetable varieties.

If you are a farmer, seed producer, seed company, processor, plant breeder, wholesaler, retailer, chef, or  anyone else who is interested in creating better products for their markets by discovering or developing excellent varieties, this session is for you.

For farmers, this is a rare opportunity to come together across the food value chain, to proactively:

  • Reduce the risk that varieties you depend on will suddenly disappear from the market.
  • "Get in front" of potential regulatory restrictions in the use of non-organic seed and ensure that you have access to varieties that will continue to meet organic standards.
  • Differentiate products and brands through varieties’ quality, uniqueness and stories.
  • Open new production windows or new markets. 
  • Lend critical support to the organic movement.

For distributors, your proactive participation has the potential to:

Reduce the risk that farmers will see the varieties they depend on suddenly disappear from the market.

Allow growers to "get in front" of potential regulatory restrictions in the use of non-organic seed and ensure they have varieties that will continue to meet organic standards.

Differentiate products and brands through varieties’ quality, uniqueness, and stories.

Open new production windows or new markets. 

Lend critical support to the organic movement.

For seed companies, your participation in this conversation will help:     

  • Establish relationships with stakeholders, such as produce distributors, who drive demand for seed.
  • Develop and promote viable organic seed that can compete with conventionally produced industry standard varieties, and encourage growers to "get in front" of potential regulatory restrictions in the use of non-organic seed.
  • Differentiate products and brands through varieties’ quality, uniqueness and stories.

AGENDA

9:00 a.m. Begin

9:00 - 9:20 a.m. Welcome and opening remarks – Micaela Colley and Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance

9:20 - 10 a.m. Seed to Eaters Panel

Eric George, Coast Range Seed, and Open Source Seed Initiative

How can we apply a seed and variety lens to marketing produce? Real world examples of challenges and successes in introducing retail consumers to a broader range of varieties.

Adam Wagner, Organically Grown Company
How wholesalers can work with seed companies to help the organic movement, while creating immediate and long term advantages for their businesses.

Fred Hemple, Baia Nicchia Farm, Artisan Seeds
How small farms can play a big role in seed by partnering with seed companies, and get paid to do it.

Jesse Cool, CoolEatz
How chefs can connect to help create new flavors by partnering with seedfolk and plant breeders.

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. Break

10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Facilitated discussion between panel and audience.

Discussion points include:

  • What are the opportunities and challenges in creating more seed diversity in the marketplace?
  • What traits and varieties are needed?
  • What are actions we can take to make it happen?

Lunch 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

1:00 –1:50 p.m. Matthew Dillon, Clif Bar & Company, Clif Bar Family Foundation
What is the public good of seed? Why should philanthropists and food companies care about seed and breeding, and what can they do to help?

1:50 – 2:40 p.m. Charlie Brummer, UC Davis Plant Breeding Center
How UC Davis is building an organic breeding pipeline by partnering with farmers and seed companies.

2:40 – 3:30 p.m. Rowen White
The importance of story in our food.

3:30 pm. Take away messages and next steps.

4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Variety tasting
Including stations to learn the stories and savor the flavors of exciting novel varieties of squash, greens, beans, carrots and other items.

5:30 p.m. Close

The event is co-hosted by the Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm) and Organic Seed Alliance.

Registration:  $75 (organic lunch included)

Track and Session Info

Track: 
Activists
Beginning Farmers & Ranchers
Educators & Researchers
Merchants, Handlers, & Distributors
Seasoned Farmers & Ranchers
Soil & Water
Social Justice Advocacy & Cultural Diversity

Date and Location

Location: 
Toyon
Day: 
Wednesday
Presenter(s): 

Rowen White

Title: 
Rowen White
Presenter Affiliation: 
Sierra Seed Cooperative

Matthew Dillon

Title: 
Matthew Dillon
Presenter Affiliation: 
Clif Bar Family Foundation

Eric George

Title: 
Eric George
Presenter Affiliation: 
Coast Range Seed, and Open Source Seed Initiative

Adam Wagner

Title: 
Adam Wagner
Presenter Affiliation: 
Organically Grown Company

Fred Hempel

Title: 
Fred Hempel
Presenter Affiliation: 
Baia Nicchia Farm, Artisan Seeds

Charlie Brummer

Title: 
Charlie Brummer
Presenter Affiliation: 
UC Davis Plant Breeding Program

Jesse Cool

Title: 
Jesse Cool
Presenter Affiliation: 
CoolEatz

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We thank our Sponsors of the 2017 EcoFarm Conference!