Hal Walter at the Pueblo Cheiftan introduces us to the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers, who, in addition to providing farm-fresh vegetables, are supporting other behind-the-scenes farming activities, including the development of regionally adapted seed varieties.
With corporations developing genetically modified organisms and patenting plant DNA, the question of seed quality is of utmost importance for all who want to make their own decisions about what they eat. And the development of seeds that are adapted to our regional growing conditions is paramount to food security on a local level. While AVOG farmers are working to provide farm-fresh food throughout the season, they’re also working with their eyes to the future on various seed projects. At Hobbs Family Farm near Avondale, seeds are a focus for Dan Hobbs and Jamie Dunston, who are aiming for 60 varieties of seed offerings. In addition to many other seed crops, a focus this year is on two dry beans — Hopi Black and Bolita — that are regionally adapted to the Southwest, and two varieties of green beans — Provider and Jade. In addition they are developing reliable overwintering leeks and a Crimson Sweet watermelon, as well as Calendula and Zinnia flower seeds. At Family Roots Farm in Canon City, Beki Javernick-Guion is running trials on 20 types of tomatoes, Provider green beans and German pole beans. At Venetucci Farm in Colorado Springs and Frost Farm near Fountain, two types of beans are undergoing trials, including a Red Kidney bean and a Jacobs Cattle bean.