Stone Barns Center for Food and AgricultureThe mission of Stone Barns Center is to create a healthy and sustainable food system that benefits us all. Located 25 miles north of Manhattan, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit institution. They operate an 80-acre farm and work to:
- Increase public awareness of healthy, seasonal and sustainable food.
- Train farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques.
- Educate children about the sources of their food, and prepare them to steward the land that provides it.
We are so fortunate to work with an amazing farmer and gardener, Jack Algiere, the Farm Director at Stone Barns. In a recent article Jack shared some of his ideas and commitment to seeds and crop improvements. The full article can be viewed here. For a quick glimpse see below.
Why should more small farmers be engaged with seed breeders and trials?
You can gain insight into new crops and be in on new varieties early on, yes—all positive. But the real issue for me is that, if small farmers don’t work with breeders, then breeders at Cornell or Bejo [the Holland-based seed company] or others are only getting the ear of industry—and that constantly redirects the energy away from the organic business and small farms. We have to be in on seed trials. It’s like voting or not voting. If you participate, your voice is heard. Don’t complain about the system if you’re not willing to vote or participate.
What do seed breeders offer that seed catalog companies do not?
A real live human-being partner. Someone who’s going to be there to share information and feedback with. Otherwise, what do I know? I look at a seed catalog with a two-sentence description about a plant. It could be right or wrong for my place. But when I deal with a human being plant breeder, there’s a real information exchange.