Seeder: Lane Selman, Culinary Breeding Network
The Project: The Culinary Breeding Network is a group of plant breeders, chefs, seed growers and farmers that comes together to explore and select the best possible culinary vegetables for the Pacific Northwest.
Their Story: Lane might very well be one of the busiest, most connected people in the Oregon farm scene: when you know more about her dynamic background it makes a lot of sense.
In the 1920s, Lane’s great grandparents moved from Sicily to Florida to grow citrus and so much of Lane’s childhood was spent running through orange groves with her cousins and helping in the family’s packing sheds. After high school, Lane took a rebellious route and decided she wanted to pursue liberal arts in college and get away from farming. Her mind was soon changed when she took interest in a soils class, which lead her down the path of achieving Bachelor degree in Agronomy and eventually a Masters degree in Entomology from the University of Florida. Over the next number of years she worked a huge variety of jobs (as a potter, a bartender, a raw foods consultant, a plant propagation instructor, in a retail nursery and as a corporate sustainable forestry manager) before plant breeding presented itself.
Despite her many jobs now, Lane is first and foremost an agricultural researcher at Oregon State University focusing on organic farming production and plant breeding. The Culinary Breeding Network is her main baby, which brings together plant breeders, chefs, researchers and seed growers to select and develop specific varieties of vegetables for culinary use in the Pacific Northwest: they want to find what vegetables grow best and taste best. The Culinary Breeding Network (CBN) is supported by the Oregon State University Department of Horticulture and the Organic Seed Alliance. Lane is also an education and outreach coordinator for Organic Seed Alliance and on the steering committee for the Portland Chefs Collaborative. She manages the market for Gathering Together Farm at the PSU Farmers Market in Portland and is co-founder of Get Dirty Farm Tours, which takes farm-curious folks out to connect with farmers, ranchers and culinary craftspeople.
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