Perceptions and Use of Organic Seed and Varieties by Midwestern Organic Vegetable Growers

Graduate Student Final Report – Ceres Trust Research Grant

Graduate Student Grant Recipient: Alexandra Lyon – PhD Candidate in Environment and Resources (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Faculty Advisor: Erin Silva – Organic Research Scientist (Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Faculty Co-Advisor: Michael Bell (Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

View/Download Full Report in Microsoft Word Format


This project is an investigation of Upper Midwester organic farmers’ experiences, perspectives, and opinions in the realm of vegetable seed and plant breeding. Using a mail survey of 220 organic vegetable growers in the Upper Midwest, we posed questions about growers’ seed use and purchasing decisions, opinions about plant breeding priorities, participation in on-farm research, and similar topics. We also explored these questions in further depth through qualitative interviews with selected growers. Results of this analysis will be use in Alexandra Lyon’s dissertation for a PhD in Environment and Resources. We will also seek publication in appropriate scholarly journals and develop a research brief that will be made available to farmers and the general public through the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.