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Novel Open Source Seed Pledge aims to keep new vegetable and grain varieties free for all

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This week, scientists, farmers and sustainable food systems advocates will gather on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to celebrate an unusual group of honored guests: 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains that are being publicly released using a novel form of ownership agreement known as the Open Source Seed Pledge.

The pledge, which was developed through a UW-Madison-led effort known as the Open Source Seed Initiative, is designed to keep the new seeds free for all people to grow, breed and share for perpetuity, with the goal of protecting the plants from patents and other restrictions down the line.

“These vegetables are part of our common cultural heritage, and our goal is to make sure these seeds remain in the public domain for people to use in the future,” says UW-Madison horticulture professor and plant breeder Irwin Goldman, who helped write the pledge.

Goldman will release two carrot varieties he developed-named Sovereign and Oranje in the spirit of the event-at a public ceremony Thursday’s public ceremony, which is set for 11 a.m. on the front lawn of the UW-Madison’s Microbial Sciences Building, 1550 Linden Drive.

The Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) was established in 2011 by public plant breeders, farmers, non-governmental organization staff and sustainable food systems advocates from around the nation concerned about the decreasing availability of plant germplasm-seeds-for public plant breeders and farmer-breeders to work with.

*Also see http://youtu.be/TROIEmokCpU

Learn more here http://www.news.wisc.edu/22748

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“Novel Open Source Seed Pledge aims to keep new vegetable and grain varieties free for all”