A New Community-Based Sustainable Seed Marketplace

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Since 2011, FarmsReach has been working with nonprofit, academic and farmer partners to identify how we may best contribute to improving the quantity and quality of non-GMO, untreated seed purchased by production farmers.

After a few years’ research and input from farmers, seed dealers and seed breeders, we were excited to “unveil” the Sustainable Seed Marketplace pilot at this year’s Organic Seed Alliance conference, and we invite your feedback!

Until May 1st, we invite comments and feature requests from seed breeders, growers, dealers and farmers across the country to guide the completion of this new, community-based platform.

Click to enlarge.

We’ll be hosting two webinars, where we’ll walk through the platform and invite questions and comments:

We will also give quick demos at these upcoming Farmers Guild in-person meet-ups:

  • Mendocino Farmers Guild: Willits, Tuesday, March 18
  • North Coast Farmers Guild: Sebastopol, Tuesday, April 1
  • Yolo Farmers Guild: Davis, Monday, April 7

We’ll be keeping our members updated on webinar dates and progress of the Sustainable Seed Marketplace, so if you haven’t already, please join FarmsReach.

Background & More Details

There are many obstacles and inefficiencies in the sustainable seed supply chain, which span the entire vertical – from breeders to growers to dealers to end-buyers.

Based on the past few years’ research, farmer workshops and user testing, we are excited to demonstrate the pilot of our new community-based Sustainable Seed Marketplace at the 2014 Organic Seed Alliance annual conference.

We are aware there have been several attempts to develop such a tool in the past, which is why we have taken the approach of engaging those who are much more experienced working with, developing, selling and purchasing seed to guide our software development.

Below is a brief overview of the new Sustainable Seed Marketplace:

  • Community design
    We created the architecture based on feedback from stakeholders – primarily farmers – across the seed supply chain. The pilot is the result of prototype testing since Spring 2013.
  • Regional performance data
    This new Seed Sourcing Tool captures how farmers rate and review different seed varieties in different regions.
  • Privacy
    Farmers can give a simple “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” for a variety, or provide detailed criteria ratings and a written review. They can also choose to share as much or as little information as they like, keeping their identity anonymous and saving personal detailed data for their own reference, if desired.
  • Alignment of supply & demand
    While its core purpose is to make purchasing decisions easier for farmers buying seed, it is also intended to also support dealers and breeders in better serving the needs of production farmers. This can be accomplished by better communication and information flow between stakeholders.
  • Taking it slow
    We know this is a disruptive, new system to buy seed, so we are starting small — with just five varieties to begin with, and in a finite geographic region for performance data.  We expect there will be a learning curve for all of us involved in this initiative, so we will expand incrementally to gauge its success and ultimate effectiveness to build the market for non-GMO, untreated seed.

To stay up-to-date on the Sustainable Seed Marketplace, please join FarmsReach if you’re not a member already.

Top image courtesy of Organic Seed Alliance.

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