Financial and technical assistance will help farmers reduce the risks of developing locally adapted varieties.
“What’s wrong with my tomatoes?”
“When should I spray the cabbages?”
“Why aren’t there any squash on these vines?”
More and more growers are getting tired of struggling with crop varieties bred for conditions that are nothing like theirs. Instead of spending time and money fighting pests, diseases, and the weather, they are learning to breed varieties that succeed in their local environments without extra help.
By cross-pollinating diverse varieties and saving seeds from the most successful plants, they are creating more flavorful, nutritious, and vigorous varieties that grow with minimal inputs.
Once, everyone grew food this way, and many indigenous cultures still practice this method, sometimes called “landrace gardening” or “evolutionary plant breeding.”
However, until now, most of the growers experimenting with locally adapted agriculture have been gardeners, homesteaders, and others who don’t depend on farming for the bulk of their income. Even if market farmers believe that shifting to local adaptation will be profitable in the long run, many of them are deterred by the transition period, which can be marked by lower yields and uncertain quality.
The Farmer Support Program aims to overcome the risks of this transition period. Using a grant from the Clif Family Foundation and other donations, Going to Seed will provide a combination of financial and technical assistance to help farmers successfully develop - and market - their locally adapted varieties. The Farmer Support Program will begin with the 2024 growing season. We expect to release an application form and guidelines in Fall 2023.
As we design the Farmer Support Program, we welcome ideas and suggestions from farmers who have either tried local adaptation or who are interested in trying it. Please fill out this survey so we can contact you and hear your views.
For answers to questions that farmers often ask about local adaptation, read more.