The Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers Network (ECOSGN) conference took place November 15-16, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec. Please find below recordings of a selection of conference workshops.

Plant Breeding for Eastern Canada with Heron Breen (Fedco Seeds)

Heron Breen is an independent plant breeder and Research and Trial Coordinator at Fedco Seeds in Maine. In this conference session, mostly in the context of squash but also addressing broccoli, Heron talks about plant breeding for organic environments in the Northeast, including selection criteria, pressures, and environments, hand pollination tools and techniques, germplasm sourcing and intellectual property rights, and the role of farmers and breeders in plant breeding.

Seedworks: The Story of a Plant Breeding Club

Rebecca Ivanoff is a farmer and member of SeedWorks. In this presentation she talks about this project, a collaboration between plant breeding farmers in Southern Ontario.

Agricultural Projects in First Nations Communities

In this panel discussion, speakers Valerie Gabriel, Sonny White, Johanne Paquet Sioui, John Bonaparte, Curtis Lazore, and Stephen McComber talk about their experiences farming, in particular with training and education, and accessing funding for agricultural projects. This presentation contains both English and French content.

Roundtable on Growing Organic Seed Sector

In this panel discussion, speakers Kim Delaney, Greta Kryger, Dan Brisebois, Heron Breen, Marie Claude Comeau, and Samuel Oslund speak about their experience growing seed and offer insights on the present state of the seed sector in Quebec and eastern regions, and what development would look like. This presentation contains both English and French content.

Germination and Quality Assurance (Part 1) with Gabrielle Rochon Sabourin, Jardins de l'écoumène

Please note this video is in French. Gabrielle is the Director of the Seeds Department at Jardins de l'écoumène. In this session you will learn about the different steps of seed germination and testing, ranging from creating the right environment, increasing the number of seeds used for germination, undertaking multiple, regular and early vigor testing and keeping good records.

Germination and Quality Assurance (Part 2) with Patrice Fortier, La société des plantes

Please note this video is in French. In this session you will learn about the different steps of seed germination and testing, ranging from creating the right environment, increasing the number of seeds used for germination, undertaking multiple, regular and early vigor testing and keeping good records.


The Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers Network (ECOSGN) conference took place November 7-9, 2014 in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec. We are happy to provide recordings for a selection of the conference workshops.


Each webinar was recorded, including multiple presentations and participant Q & A. This is an easy way to access hours of knowledge on seed from experts across the country.

Tomato Seed Diseases with David Egel

This English webinar includes a French intro for Quebec participants. Skip to 03:30 for English content. Mildew, fusarium wilt, canker, late blight, anthracnose are some of the seed-borne diseases that we can find in tomatoes! On May 27, 2020, David S. Egel, plant pathologist in Indiana, joined in a conference call with several local seed growers in Quebec. The conversation started with identifying diseases on photos, and then addressed topics like transmission of seed-borne disease and available treatments.

Co-operative Seed Marketing with Mel Sylvestre

Please note this webinar is in French.
Market pooling through a co-op may be a promising strategy to improve distribution in sufficient quantity and quality of local seed. This seminar provides an overview of the establishment of the BC Eco Seed Co-op in British Columbia as a model or example of pooling growers' marketing capacities for local and ecological seeds. This seminar gives the opportunity for newly established seed companies in Quebec to better understand the challenges that await their collective projects.

Introduction to the Canadian Organic Variety Improvement Project (CANOVI)

This 1.25 hour webinar is a comprehensive introduction to CANOVI, a new, cross-Canada, on-farm research project led by University of British Columbia and The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. This webinar provides project background, information related to 2019 Variety Trials and Participatory Plant Breeding initiatives, as well as communicating upcoming events and field days. This webinar is hosted in English, with bilingual slides and limited French translation provided.

Seed Economics: Enterprise Budgets & Contract Growing
April 18, 2018 / 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern Time.

This is a free webinar.

Are you growing seed or want to start but are not sure if a seed crop can give you a financial return? FarmFolk CityFolk, in collaboration with UBC Farm, has been developing enterprise budget spreadsheets for seed production in BC to help answer this question.

This webinar will walk you through seed production budget templates that will help you better understand the economics of integrating seed production into your farm. The session will also explore options for growing seed under contract. How to get started, what to include in contracts and case studies of how contacts have worked for individual growers and cooperatives will be included. webinar presenters are Shauna MacKinnon and Chris Thoreau form FarmFolk CityFolk's Seed Security Program and The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security.

"The People's Choice" Webinar: Seed Questions across Canada!
December 2, 2015 | 4pm - 5:30pm Eastern Time

This webinar is designed according to feedback we've collected from across Canada. After a presentation on "On-farm Roguing, Selection, and Adaptation" by Dan Brisebois of Tourne-Sol Farm (QC), we welcome our first "seed panel" of experts from across the country who will address YOUR most important seed questions. The panel includes Dan Brisebois (QC); Michelle Smith (Northwind Farm, NS); Martin Entz (University of Manitoba); Patrick Steiner (Stellar Seeds, BC) and Jane Rabinowicz (The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security).

Time Stamps:

  • 00:00: Introduction and Webinar Format
  • 03:18: "On-farm Selection Roguing and Adaptation" (Dan Brisebois)
  • 34:05: Seed Panel Introductions
  • 37:48: "How to breed for crop vigour in a timely manner given climate chaos?"
  • 43:02: "How do you know when it's time to harvest broccoli seed?"
  • 48:15: "Does stem rust in oats affect seed health?"
  • 55:25: "What strategies can replace tissue culture for disease reduction in potatoes?"
  • 57:10: "What's the best way to clean lettuce and other small seeds?"
  • 1:00:24: "How do we educate people on the importance of seed diversity in an engaging way?"
  • 1:05:33: "What are some primary seed considerations for mixed farms?"
  • 1:09:41: "What are seed libraries trying to accomplish?"
  • 1:13:50: "What's the best way to overwinter seed crops in cold rooms?"
  • 1:16:56: "How do you breed for disease resistance in grains?"
  • 1:20:04: "What if the seed (supplier) farm has different practices than the grower (retailing) farm?"
Managing Potential Diseases in Organic Seed Crops
July 22, 2015 | 4pm - 5:00pm Eastern Time

Following our 2014 webinar "Keeping Your Seed Crops Healthy," this webinar will delve deeper into preventing, identifying, and treating diseases in your seed crops. We’ll hear from Lindsey du Toit, a Vegetable Seed Pathologist with Washington State University, for technical information and valuable perspective on this topic. Lindsey compiled a thorough resource list to accompany this presentation. Please click here to access it.

Exploring Participatory Research: Part 1, Participatory Plant Breeding
April 15, 2015 | 4pm - 5pm Eastern Time

What is Participatory Plant Breeding? And why does it matter for Canadian agriculture? Join our panelists to hear insights, information, and stories from the field - both in Canada and internationally.

Time Stamps: 03:50 Sally Humphries, Founder of participatory breeding program in Honduras /10:30 Matthew Wiens, Manitoba farmer engaged in on-farm breeding since 2011 for wheat and oats / 21:56 Q & A / 36:10 Anne Kirk, University of Manitoba / 51:52 Q & A.

Keeping your Seed Crops Healthy
April 23rd, 2014 | 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time

This webinar features presentations from John Navazio (Organic Seed Alliance, WA), Jodi Lew-Smith (High Mowing Organic Seeds, VE), and Linda Gilkeson (West Coast Gardening, BC.) This great lineup of expert presenters will cover a range of topics to help you produce your best seed crop this season, including:

  • Rogueing and/or selection: selection criteria for desired seed plant characteristics; population size; stock seed basics.
  • Knowing & recognizing potential disease issues: crop specific diseases and reduction methods.
  • Knowing and identifying crop specific pests and reduction techniques; companion planting and attracting beneficial insects.
Quality Assurance in Ecological Seed Production
January 28, 2015 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time

The recording will be posted soon. Thanks for your patience!

Each seed a farmer purchases and plants is an investment in the harvest, on which their livelihood depends. Seed producers need to provide assurance so that farmers know that their seed will be high quality, and reliable. This webinar will provide information on how to provide quality assurance. Presenters will speak to such topics as:

  • storage criteria, viability (including moisture content and germination tests), and seed vigour
  • ethics and quality assurance

Please join us to hear from seed leaders in three regions of Canada. They'll talk about their diverse and forward thinking seed initiatives that are advancing ecological seed and regional seed systems across the country. We'll hear from Sarah Hargreaves (Ecological Farming Association of Ontario) on "Farmer-led Research"; Teprine Baldo & Stephen McComber (organizers of Strawberry Moon and Crow Moon Festivals, in QC, and owners of Fire Council Farms) on "Seed for the Community"; and Mel Sylvestre (BC Seed Co-op) on "Cooperative Seed Company Models".


The commercial sector for organic and ecological seeds in Canada is growing. Supporting that growth means scaling up seed volumes, increasing quality, as well as designing effective contracts and creative marketing schemes to get that seed into people’s hands. During this webinar, we’ll hear from Canadian and US seed trailblazers about how they’re making it work. We'll hear from Sebastian Aguilar, Chickadee Farm (Oregon, US) on “Seed Relationships, Contracts and Scaling up”; and Patrice Fortier, la société des plantes, on “Developing a Market for Regional Seed".


Saving seeds is a practice as old as agriculture itself. The seeds we save reflect our geography, history, diversity, and culture. Please join us for a special webinar exploring the cultural side of seeds and what seed saving means on an individual and community level. We welcome 2 panelists for this webinar. Shaani Singh is a young farmer from Nova Scotia who recently visited Vandana Shiva's Navdanya Foundation in India. She'll share her experience and insight from that time. Terrylynn Brant is a Seedkeeper in the Mohawk Nation of Grand River. She will speak about the role of food in the ceremonies and culture of the haudenonsaunee, as well as her experience maintaining her culture by planting their ancestral seeds.

Keeping Seed in the Public Domain: Seed Banks & Libraries
Sept. 23, 2015 | 4pm - 5:30pm Eastern Time

Community seed is a movement gaining momentum across Canada.From public libraries and mobile seed collections, to local non profits and community gardens, people are increasingly working to keep diverse seed in the hands of the people. Join us to hear more about the “why” and the “how” of keeping high quality seed by and for the community.

Time Stamps:

Exploring Participatory Research: Part 2, Trialing & Record Keeping
May 13, 2015 | 4pm - 5pm Eastern Time

Crops and farms, and the interaction between the two, are deeply complex systems. Often times, seeds are trialed at research stations and under optimal conditions which may be quite different from your own farm. On-farm trialing is an effective way of comparing varieties to find out which may be a good fit for your operation. Beware: record keeping is a must if you're trialing varieties! Join Helen Jensen and Rupert Adams to explore the "why" and "how" of effective on-farm trialing.

Please note: We had some technical difficulties with this recording. As a result, the first few minutes are cut off, and the sound skips briefly in two spots. Helen and Rupert present fantastic information though, so we encourage you to check it out! Time stamps: at start, Helen Jensen, Regional Coordinator with The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security / 27:00 Rupert Adams, Salt Spring Seeds and Training Advisor to The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security / 34:20 Q & A.

Planning your Seed Crops
February 19th, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. EST

**Note on Recording Quality: This recording unfortunately cuts off our intro and the first 2-3 minutes of the first presenter. Sorry about that. There’s lots of good stuff there though. Enjoy!

This webinar features presentations from Patrick Steiner (Stellar Seeds, BC), Daniel Brisebois (Tourne-Sol Cooperative Farm, QC), and Michelle Smith (Northwind Farm, NS). Together they cover a range of topics to get you started in your seed garden this year, including:

  • Knowing seed crops and lifecycle patterns, isolation distances, and population sizes
  • Sourcing seed stock
  • Integrating seed production onto your farm
  • Using and marketing seed crops: intended use and prospective buyers.
Harvesting, Drying & Cleaning your Seed Crops
July 30th, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time

This webinar includes presentations from Patrick Steiner (Stellar Seeds, BC) and Kim Delaney (Hawthorne Seeds, ON), with Dan Jason (Salt Spring Seeds, The Seed Sanctuary, BC) joining the webinar for an extended question and answer period. Each speaker will cover various aspects of harvesting and processing your seed crops. Presentations include:

  • Seed Harvesting, drying and cleaning methods and techniques;
  • Equipment needs and sources, relative to your scale of seed production; Equipment sharing.
Organic Field Crop Production and On-farm Breeding
January 14, 2015 | 3:00 - 4:30 pm Eastern Time

This unique webinar will provide both technical, agronomic information regarding field crop production best practices and strategies, as well as an overview and results-to-date of our participatory plant breeding program. This webinar will be beneficial to anyone interested in pursuing on-farm breeding, as well as those looking to improve their general field crop farming systems. We’ll hear from two great presenters: Anne Kirk (Participatory plant breeding project coordinator, University of Manitoba) and Martin Entz (Agronomy professor, University of Manitoba). The following topics will be covered:

  • Crop rotations for organic crop production
  • Choosing the right green manure crop
  • Overview of the participatory plant breeding program
  • Results from an evaluation of farmer selected wheat populations

Ownership of seed is a complex topic that can be confusing and polarizing. As legislative frameworks and corporate practices change, so do community responses to meet challenges and opportunities in seed production, saving and exchange. This webinar will provide an overview of Canadian IPR frameworks, and explore the topic of seed ownership.

Part 1:

Ann Slater of The National Farmers Union on "Overview of Seed IPRs in Canada & Recent Changes to Legislation" followed by Q & A.

Part 2:

Julie Dawson of the University of Wisconsin Madison: "Intellectual Property Rights Challenges in the Context of Participatory Plant Breeding", followed by Q & A.

Part 3:

Jack Kloppenburg of the Open Source Seed Initiative "Free the Seed: Open Source Plant Genetics", followed by Q & A.