8:00 am08:00


  • West Madison Agricultural Research Station

Organic Seed School

Whether you’re a gardener looking to create your own varieties, a farmer interested in seed production, or a curious eater hoping to understand more about your food system, Organic Seed School is designed for you!

Date: Sunday, August 9, 2015
Time: Registration begins at 7:30am. Program runs 8am - 4pm. Pre-register here.
Cost: $20. 
Lunch and refreshments are included with online pre-registration. 

Organic Seed School will include:

  • Pollination biology basics
  • Practical instruction in selection and crossing for corn, tomatoes, carrots, and more
  • Hands-on demonstrations of pollination and wet seed extraction
  • Tours of university breeding plots
  • Direct instruction from experienced breeders and growers
  • Updates from seed company representatives about their initiatives towards serving organic growers
  • Time for informal discussion. Come with your questions, and talk directly with the experts!
Aug 13

SOSS 2015

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Frank Holt Center


*Subject to change*  

Visit the SOSS Speakers page for speaker bios and descriptions of field trip destinations.

Sunday, August 9

Noon - 4:00- Check-In
5:00 - Welcome Dinner
Catered by Bunky’s Catering
Opening Remarks - Dr. Irwin Goldman - University of Wisconsin-Madison 
8:00 - Bonfire - Picnic Point

Monday, August 10

7:30 -8:30 - Breakfast
8:45 - Michael Sligh - RAFI
9:30 - Adrienne Shelton - High Mowing Organic Seeds & UW-Madison
10:15 - Break & Seed Swap
10:45 - Rob Johnston - Johnny's Selected Seeds
11:30 - Lunch
1:00-5:00 - Field Trials - West Madison Agricultural Research Station
Student Demonstration Plots
Dr. Julie Dawson, Dr. Phil Simon, Dr. Erin Silva, Dr. Bill Tracy
5:45 - Dinner - Goodman Community Center
Catered by Working Class Catering
7:00 - Science Cafe
Green Genes: Seed Breeding for Organic Agriculture

Tuesday, August 11

6:30 - Boxed breakfast
7:00am - 6:00pm 
Organic Valley
Annake Ramsey, Logan Peterman, Theresa Marquez
Vermont Valley Potato Seed
David Perkins, Jesse Perkins
Vermont Valley Community Farm
Barb Perkins
A.P. Whaley Seed Company
Aaron Whaley
6:30 - BBQ Picnic Dinner
8:00 - Memorial Union Terrace
Optional social time

Wednesday, August 12

7:30 -8:30 - Breakfast
8:45 - Dr. Lori Hoagland - Purdue University
9:30 - Ira Wallace - Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
10:15 - Break & Seed Swap
10:30 -SOSS 2016 Planning Committee Meeting
11:00 - Student Research Presentations
12:00 - Lunch
1:00 - Chef-Breeder Workshop
Jonny Hunter - Underground Food Collective
Dan Bonanno - Pig in a Fur Coat
Francesco Mangiale - Osteria Papavero
2:30 - Break
3:00 - Alfonso del Rio - UW-Madison
3:40 - Claire Luby - UW-Madison
4:20 - Closing Remarks
Tom Stearns - High Mowing Organic Seeds
6:00 - Closing Dinner at Vilas Park
Catered by Underground Catering

6:30 pm18:30

Science Cafe

  • Goodman Center

Green Genes: Seed Breeding for Organic Agriculture

A Science Cafe is a place for informal, jargon-free conversation between scientists and the general public. In our case, we’ll bring together SOSS plant breeding scientists and Madison’s community of gardeners, farmers, and curious eaters for a moderated Q&A about seeds, breeding, technology, and the future of our food system. Kids welcome!

Date: Monday, August 10, 2015
Time: Doors open 6:30 pm. Program 7:00 pm-8:00 pm. Mingling afterwards.
Cost: Free.
A cash bar with beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be available.

The Science Cafe will feature:

  • Organic plant breeding trivia
  • Quick, powerpoint-less conversation-starters from our panel of plant breeders
  • Large group Q&A
  • Mingling, conversation, and some laughs
7:30 am07:30

SOSS 2015 Optional Field Trip: Seed Savers Exchange

  • Seed Savers Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange Field Trip

*Subject to change*

Thursday, August 13

7:30 am - Depart from Leopold Hall
(Load all luggage on bus- not returning to Leopold Hall)

11:00 am – Arrive Seed Savers Exchange 
Meet at Lillian Goldman Visitors’ Center

11:15 am – History of SSE, Tour of facilities and gardens
Toby Cain - Education Coordinator
Grant Olson - Public Programs Manager

12:30 pm – Lunch & Seed Activity
Catered by Water Street Cafe
Invite SSE staff to eat with us

1:30pm – Preservation Lab
Tim Johnson, PhD - Seed Bank Manager

1:50pm – Seed Stories & Robert Becker Memorial Library
Sara Straate - Seed Historian

2:10pm - Greenhouse Tour
Amy Holmgren - Greenhouse Manager

2:30pm - Tomato Tasting
Phil Kauth - Assistant Curator

2:50pm - Seed House Tour

3:30pm – Orchard Tour
Dan Bussey - Orchard Manager

4:30pm – Depart for Pepperfield Project
5:00pm – Arrive Pepperfield Project
Tour / talk with David Cavagnaro

5:45pm – Dinner

6:45pm – Depart for Madison
10:00pm – Arrive Madison