“Who Gets Kissed?” is the first in a series of organic sweet corn developed through a new plant breeding program.
“’Who Gets Kissed?” is not only bred under organic farming conditions, but organic farmers are equal partners in the breeding effort.
This represents a much needed alternative where farmers and agricultural scientists collaborate with one another on future, farm-based breeding projects to improve agricultural crops.
Wow! What a concept !! This returns farming to what it used to be.
And protects the farmers.
How It All Began
The Organic Seed Alliance and the University of Wisconsin–Madison jointly worked on this new sweet corn variety, “Who Gets Kissed?” The story of this new corn variety’s development starts with Minnesota farmer Martin Diffley.
Diffley couldn’t find an organic sweet corn variety that would tolerate his farm’s cool soils, so he approached Dr. John Navazio, OSA’s senior scientist at that time. Dr. Navazio put Martin in touch with University of Wisconsin–Madison sweet corn breeder Bill Tracy. Tracy was already studying cool soil emergence in sweet corn, and a collaborative plant-breeding project emerged.
What Makes It Different
“Who Gets Kissed?” is an open-pollinated sweet corn with yellow and white kernels that has good yields, tolerates cool soils, and is resistant to common rust and corn smut (without being GMO). And, it has a superior flavor and sweetness.
Because it’s open-pollinated, farmers can save selected seeds from their harvests to adapt the variety to their own local conditions and market needs.
Most of the sweet corn varieties in the marketplace today with similar traits are hybrids, including GMOs, but”Who Gets Kissed” represents the way Nature is supposed to work.
A Healthier Future
“’Who Gets Kissed?” is an example of what can be achieved through more natural farming, minus Big Agra control. Open-pollination and collaborative breeding are long-term approaches to food production. They encourage healthier soil, less irrigation (under normal climate conditions), and non-lethal pollination by bees and butterflies.
Bottom-line, there are ways where the consumer, farmer, breeder, seed grower, and stakeholders can all benefit within the food system of the future.
Who Get’s Kissed??? You, me, and the bees!
To get more involved in supporting this project, here are some contacts:
- This organic sweet corn breeding project was funded in part by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and USDA’s Organic Research and Extension Initiative.
- Kristina Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance, (406) 544-8946, [email protected]
- Adrienne Shelton, University of Wisconsin–Madison, [email protected]
- Martin Diffley, Organic Farming Works, [email protected]