Farmers have been improving and selecting our food crops for 10,000 years. Why let somebody else do it now? We know what works, what our markets want, what our livestock needs. The tools are available and manageable with just a little study and practice.
And with a rapidly changing climate, we need depth and resiliency in our genetic resources more every day. For the most democracy and the most food security, perhaps our shared genetic resources should be in the hands of thousands of competent and concerned farmers, and not concentrated in the vaults of a few multinational corporations?
Learn the opportunities and responsibilities of being a farmer breeder.
To learn more about the state of current breeding work and the qualities of open pollinated corn, here is a recent article from the Organic Seed Alliance called "The Promising Potential of Open Pollinated Corn".
This website, hosted by eOrganic, is by a group of corn breeders who are working to produce new corn varieties for certified organic production systems. The long term goal of their work is to increase the profitability, sustainability, and safety of organic food production systems that include field corn. If you want to know more about what serious corn breeders do, this is a rich resource.
Here's a Facebook page for farmers who want to join an online discussion about OP corn improvement. Lots of experts, with interesting perspectives on corn improvement in the past and future.
This website, Seed We Need, offers an excellent primer on several strategies for developing your own open pollinated corn variety and links to a number of useful corn breeding resources. It also shows the process that was used to develop a beautiful Western flour corn called "Painted Mountain".
This article, written by the staff at Organic Seed Alliance, describes some of the problems associated with patenting the genetics in seeds, and explains a recent Supreme Court ruling that gave even more monopoly power over our seed supply to Monsanto.
This article discusses the issues surrounding patenting of the genes of important food crops, and describes work by a group of people striving to develop an open source way for genetics to be freely shared.
If you are a seed dealer who is buying seed from me for sale in the same year, you are welcome to sell Abbe Hills OP as long as each bag is labeled so that it includes all information legally required on seed labels, plus the full warranty provided by Abbe Hills Farm. This information includes bag weight, seed size, % pure seed, % weed seed, % other crop seed, % inert matter, % germination, date of test, growing location and year, seed treatment, and contact information for Abbe Hills Farm. Please call me if you'd like to retail Abbe Hill OP seed this year.
If you are a seed dealer who is planning to grow Abbe Hills OP and offer its seed for sale in future years by the name Abbe Hills OP or by any other, you must have written permission from me, Laura Krouse, owner of Abbe Hills Farm and developer of Abbe Hills OP to do so.
I have chosen not to seek intellectual property protection for Abbe Hills OP because I believe that the only way to preserve and protect the variability and resiliency of our genetic resources is for farmers and crop breeders to have free access to all cultivars, genetics, and traits. I am happy to offer Abbe Hills OP as a source of traits, but I urge you to please respect my many years of work to develop this unique variety, and don’t sell the seed you harvest to others without my written permission. Please contact me if you have any questions.