Wholesum adds organic seed production to its portfolio of organic innovation
Wholesum, Fair Trade Certified grower and shipper of organic farm-fresh vegetables, is treading the path to becoming a more fully integrated farm by building in-house capabilities to produce organic seeds.
“As organic growers, we envision a future where organic seeds and the resources to produce them are more widely available. We support investments in organic plant breeding and seed research and feel that moving the needle forward in this area will help organic production thrive,” said Theojary Crisantes Jr., chief operations officer. The project began in 2022 and will continue to be a growing capacity of Wholesum’s operation.
Organic seed production is a fundamental part of the integrity of organics and the organic supply chain, from the grower to the retailer, to the consumer. Organic seeds are specifically bred and better adapted for organic production systems, leading to a better organic product. However, when compared to the vast availability of non-organically produced seeds, both choices and quality of organic seeds are limited. “To keep up with the fast-growing organic sector and to do so sustainably, we need to be at the forefront of innovation, including in our capacity to deliver high quality, healthy seeds,” said Crisantes.
Seed production is a highly meticulous task requiring specialized labor to complete a full seed production cycle; from sowing the initial “parent” seed to the extraction of the new seed. All is achieved under highly controlled conditions including environmental, structural and phytosanitary controls. “While currently at a small scale, devoting time, knowledge, resources and infrastructure to this task is one way that we contribute to a better future for organic farmers, the development of our workforce and at a larger scale, to the organic movement,” said Ricardo Crisantes, chief commercial officer of Wholesum.
In its first efforts in 2022, Wholesum learned how to produce organic seeds for cucumbers and peppers and plans to expand both knowledge and production through 2023 and beyond.