Sustainable Plant Breeding :A Participatory Methodology for CSA’s and Fresh Market Vegetable Producers in South Central WI

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2004: $9,969.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Grant Recipient: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Brent McCown
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: beans, beets, carrots, onions, peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes


  • Production Systems: general crop production


    This project aimed to create a participatory plant breeding project to support and enhance sustainable agriculture in Wisconsin. Through a series of meetings and interviews a working group was created. Ultimately the group of farmers and researchers fragmented into individual relationships and a coherent project was not established. The final conclusions of the research examined the institutional barriers to creating this project and centered on the creation of a working guide for others engaging in participatory research.


    Over the period of over two years this project evaluated and attempted to establish a participatory plant breeding project to serve fresh market growers engaged in sustainable production in Southern Wisconsin. Through a series of interviews and meetings this project ultimately proved difficult to accomplish. While there was sustained interest in creating varieties by both farmers and researchers, institutional limits for both groups appeared to have limited the growth of a larger project. The last phase of the research evaluated the constraints and looked toward practical guidelines and resources to enhance participatory research for farmers and researchers in the future.

    Project objectives:

    The following objectives of the project were met:

    Through dialog, education and goal setting farmers, university researchers, a non-governmental organization, and small seed companies/producers enhance understanding of plant breeding/seed system and of potential for sustainability.

    Through the same means a multi-institution support network is created.

    All stakeholders learn about alternative plant breeding systems and their potential role in creating/sustaining them.

    Educational guide on methodology for participatory/sustainable plant breeding in U.S. land grant university context.

    Identification of institutional barriers to participatory research.

    Creation of research brief on participatory research.

    The objective of creating a coherent and working sustainable plant breeding project at university of Wisconsin was not met. As discussed further in the discussion section institutional barriers to the project were studied as a result of not meeting this project goal.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.