The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) develops, protects and promotes the organic seed trade and its growers, and assures that the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed, free of contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture.
OSGATA is committed to:
- Defending farmers’ rights to save and trade seed.
- Promoting the right to farm, protected from transgenic contamination.
- Ensuring the right to true choice in the marketplace for farmers and consumers.
- Enabling the viability of regional organic seed companies.
- Creating protocols for testing seed quality and maintaining seed integrity.
- Protect farmer-developed varieties.
- Developing and supporting organic seed standards.
- Encouraging National Organic Program (NOP) rules toward 100% organic seed.
- Educating farmers and consumers alike about the importance of organic seed.
OSGATA’s membership is comprised of organic farmers who produce seed crops, organic seed breeders, organic seed companies, as well as affiliate organizations and non-voting associate members composed of colleagues that support organic farmers and organic seed systems. We believe that forging healthy partnerships in which the organic community invests in organic seed systems will:
- Encourage the viability of responsive, regional, organic seed companies.
- Provide organic farmers with 100% of their organic seed needs.
- Improve the genetic diversity of agricultural crops.
- Protect and promote farmers’ rights to save and trade seed.
Organic seed is in short supply.
The creation of a healthy organic seed trade is paramount to the success of the National Organic Program (NOP). Certified organic farmers require quality organic seed in order to meet NOP guidelines, but more importantly they need organic seed to maximize the overall integrity and success of their organic system. At the onset of the organic rule (October, 2002), a definitive lack of certified organic seed quantity and quality on the market required the NOP to develop an exemption for the use of organic seed. While the exemption is necessary at present, no farmer should be without the seed best suited for their microclimates, production systems and markets.
Organic seed is at risk.
Organic seed systems face the very real threat of contamination from transgenic seed. This raises pressing questions concerning liability: Who should be responsible for testing organic seed for the presence of contamination? If organic seed is found to be contaminated, who bears the financial burden?
Our seed systems are further threatened by corporate consolidation. Monopolization of seed companies and agricultural lands on an international scale gives rise to monocultures and facilitates a staggering loss of biodiversity: over the past 100 years, based on UN estimates, 75% of seed genetics have been lost forever. This is complicated by the granting of patents on seeds, which removes this once universal genetic resource from the commons and consolidates it into the hands of the few.
The development of a vibrant organic seed trade will result in the manifestation of seed systems suited to the ecological, economic, and localized challenges and needs of organic farming.