Meet the EFN

 Photo credit: EFN

The EFN Board

2015 Experimental Farm Network (EFN)

The Experimental Farm Network is itself an experiment in participatory plant breeding and collaborative agricultural research. We believe the sustainable crops and growing systems of the future – including those with the power to reverse climate change – will only be developed through a large-scale effort that is open, transparent, and organized from the ground up. Neither giant agri-businesses nor the universities and governments they bankroll will ever innovate a challenge to the dominant status quo, yet these same institutions conduct most agricultural research today. They continue to pour billions into developing the latest genetically engineered crops – designed not to feed the world, but to sell chemicals – while the health of our planet and all of its inhabitants suffers. Farmers will continue to plant GMO corn and soybeans, cotton and canola, for no other reason than they feel they have no other choice. We understand the painful decisions farmers make in the name of survival, which is why we believe this experiment is urgently needed. If the EFN is successful, all farmers will one day have free access to new crops and systems, collaboratively developed for public use, in the public domain, and to benefit the public good.

By this time next year, we plan for the EFN to be organized through a user-friendly, state-of-the-art, open-source website, which is in the process of being built. In this, our pilot year, we are using this form to seek Experiment Designers and Volunteer Growers to test out the model and get this important ball rolling. No particular experience is required. Volunteer Growers get the chance to participate in groundbreaking research whether they have a few square feet of growing space or an entire farm. Once matched up, you will be sent seeds and instructions by Experiment Designers. In this first year, we are guaranteeing that every Volunteer Grower will be sent seed (at the very least by EFN).

Read the full article: EFN

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Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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