Want to learn more about producing organic seeds? Want to learn about their commercial production, harvesting, quality, marketing, breeding and more? Want to build your own business following your own unique seed-farm business plan? If so, this course is for you!
In partnership with USC Canada through The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, Canadian Organic Growers has opened registration for Canada's first, intermediate-level Organic Vegetable Seed Production e-learning certificate! This 22-week program runs April 10 - November 3, 2017 (with a summer break from July 10 - September 3).
Registration closes April 6.
This certificate program will be delivered in a part-time blended format featuring live, online instruction with two expert instructors and successful organic seed producers, Mary Brittain of The Cottage Gardener and Patrick Steiner of Stellar Seeds (bios below).
The course will focus on building the competencies needed for successful, commercial organic seed producers. Modules covered in this certificate program include:
- Organic Farming Practices
- Organic Seed Production and Harvesting
- Organic Seed Quality Assurance
- The Business of Organic Seed Production
- On-Farm Organic Plant Breeding
Admission into this program requires that students have a basic level of knowledge and/or experience in seed production. This will be evaluated using a pre-enrolment questionnaire. The program of study is flexible, allowing students to spend more time on concepts that are most important to them. Over the duration of the certificate, and central to the successful completion of the course, students will work with instructors to develop their own unique commercial seed-farm business plan.
Technical requirements: This course requires Internet service of sufficient quality to view online videos, interactive media, and to participate in webinars. The digital media used in COG's courses have been selected considering low data requirements. Learners can also acquire lessons in a self-organized group setting by regional meet-ups in local libraries or schools.
An optional 40-hour in-field experiential learning practicum placement is also offered that will partner students with mentors to give them more hands-on experience. This practicum exercise is an important and distinctive offering which brings practice-based learning to the online learning format. You can learn more about the practicum and various practicum options here.
About the course instructors
Mary Brittain has been growing and saving seed for over 20 years on her 20-acre farm in southern Ontario. Together with her husband, Dan, and daughter, Rachel, they operate The Cottage Gardener Heirloom Seedhouse, a seed company specializing in organic, heirloom seeds of vegetables, herbs and flowers. Off-farm, Mary had a career as an executive in the public sector, specializing in human resource development & management and strategic planning. She has also pursued post-graduate studies in business administration.
Patrick Steiner has been growing organic seeds for close to two decades, and operating his own seed company Stellar Seeds, for the past seventeen years. He farms in the mountainous West Kootenays in British Columbia, where he balances the work of producing seeds and running a seed business with equally important work in local food security issues. He enjoys sharing the knowledge he has gained from years of first-hand experience with organic seed production.