SOSS 2019 Speakers






Jason Cavatorta is a plant breeder and president of EarthWork Seeds Inc., a 2-person company focused on “developing and producing vegetable cultivars for farmers, home gardeners, and anybody who loves good food.” Jason is passionate about food, agriculture, and practical plant breeding and started EarthWork Seeds in 2015 to develop new vegetable varieties with great flavor as well as strong agronomic performance, such as ‘Damsel’ and 'Red Racer' tomatoes. His research program is based in Oviedo, Florida and includes crops such as tomato, melon, winter squash, and specialty peppers. Jason previously worked as a commercial plant breeder for Seminis/Monsanto. He holds an MS and PhD in Plant Breeding from Cornell University.



Ken Greene is founder of the first seed library in the country, a project he germinated in a small town library. Today, the Hudson Valley Seed Company is a national seed source devoted to producing seed for home gardeners and farmers and celebrating seeds through art. Greene’s most recent endeavor is the growth of a Seedshed, a new non-profit focused on seed justice. Greene’s efforts have been profiled in a range of publications including New Yorker Magazine, Washington Post, Martha Stewart Living, Vogue, New York Times, Heirloom Gardener Magazine, and NPR. He has given presentations for diverse groups including the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Culinary Institute of America, Seed Savers Exchange, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Omega Institute, many Garden Clubs, and the National Heirloom Expo. This year thanks to the Ulster Garden Club, the Hudson Valley Seed Co was awarded The Garden Club of America Club Horticulture Commendation.

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Kristyn Leach grows vegetables and herbs significant to Asians in diaspora in California's Central Valley. She also conducts field trials for Kitazawa Seed Company and curates a line called Second Generation Seeds within Kitazawa that focuses on increasing access to culturally-relevant heirloom seeds, and improving varieties for climate resilience and performance in small scale operations. She is also a collaborator with the Organic Seed Alliance.



Rowen White is a Seed Keeper from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and a passionate activist for seed sovereignty. She is the director and founder of Sierra Seeds, an innovative organic seed cooperative focusing on local seed production and education, based in Nevada City, California. She teaches creative seed training immersions around the country within tribal and small farming communities. She weaves stories of seeds, food, culture and sacred Earth stewardship on her blog, Seed Songs.

past speakers


Andrew Still and Sarah Kleeger,  Adaptive Seeds
Bill Tracy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Brigid Meints, Barley Breeding Program, Oregon State University
Cara Loriz, Organic Seed Alliance
Carol Deppe, Fertile Valley Seeds
Chris Schreiner, Oregon Tilth
Don Tipping, Siskiyou Seeds
Eric George, Coast Range Seed
Frank Morton, Wild Garden Seed
Irwin Goldman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jim Myers, Vegetable Breeding and Genetics, Oregon State University
Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kiki Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance
Michael Mazourek, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University
Patrick Hayes, Barley Breeding Program, Oregon State University
Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds


Salvatore Ceccarelli, independent consultant in crop breeding and plant genetic resources
Suzanne Ashworth, Del Rio Botanical
Jane Dever, Texas A&M
Jim Houston, California Department of Food and Agriculture
Timothy Blank, California Crop Improvement Association
Tom Gradziel, University of California-Davis
Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seed
Benito Juarez, Sakata Seed America, Inc.
Adrienne Shelton, Vitalis Organic Seeds
Amy Kaplan, Vitalis Organic Seeds
Anders MacCarthy, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Lau Ackerman, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Dave Yewman, Elevator Speech


Jim Gerritsen, Wood Prairie Family Farm; Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.
Kiki Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance
Neil Lash, Heirloom Seed Project at Medomak Valley High School
Kris Nichols, Rodale Institute
Theresa Podoll, Prairie Road Organic Seed
Jane Rabinowicz, Bauta Family Initiative
Bill Tracy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Janny Van Beem, The Crop Trust


Alfonso del Rio, USDA/ARS US Potato Gene Bank
Irwin Goldman, University of Wisconsin- Madison
Lori Hoagland, Purdue University
Rob Johnston, Johnny's Selected Seeds
Claire Luby, University of Wisconsin- Madison
Theresa Marquez, Organic Valley
Barb, David, and Jesse Perkins, Vermont Valley Community Farm
Logan Peterman, Organic Valley
Annake Ramsey, Organic Valley
Adrienne Shelton, High Mowing Organic Seeds
Michael Sligh, Rural Advancement Foundation International and National Organic Standards Board
Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds
Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Aaron Whaley, A.P. Whaley Seed Company


Albert Culbreath, University of Georgia
Jane Dever, Texas A&M
R. Ford Denison, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Major Goodman, North Carolina State University
Humberto Rios Labrada, International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA)
Mark Sorrells, Cornell University
Edith T. Lammerts Van Bueren, Louis Bolk Institute and Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance


Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance
Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Matthew Dillon, Seed Matters
Irwin Goldman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Patrick Hayes, Oregon State University
Kristina Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance
Nash Huber, Nash's Organic Produce
Molly Jahn, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Stephen Jones, Washington State University
Jack Kloppenburg, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Brian Love, Seminis
Frank Morton, Wild Garden
Kevin Murphy, Washington State University
Jim Myers, Oregon State University
John Navazio, Organic Seed Alliance
Erica Renaud, Vitalis Organic Seed
Jules Riske, Osborne Seed
Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds
Lindsey du Toit, Washington State University
Bill Tracy, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Julie Dawson, Cornell University
Matthew Dillon, Seed Matters
Irwin Goldman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Rob Johnston and Janika Eckert, Johnny's Selected Seeds
Stephen Jones, Washington State University
Jack Kloppenburg, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jodi Lew-Smith, High Mowing Organic Seeds
Michael Mazourek, Cornell University
John Navazio, Organic Seed Alliance
Erica Renaud, Vitalis Organic Seeds
Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds
Bill Tracy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance