Two bins on the edge of a field

Grain on the Brain Podcasts

Season 3, Episode 2 – Plant Breeding


Today we do a deep dive again into the world of seed breeding and hear about farmers who are developing their own seed varieties. We also get Aabir Dey, from The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security to help us understand a bit more about the policies behind the seeds we use on our farms, how they got there and what work needs to be done to support a fair, farmer-friendly seed future!

(01:00:18) May 28, 2021


Since 2013, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security has been supporting a national Participatory Plant Breeding Program – PPB – with the University of Manitoba that puts farmers in the driver’s seat to select varieties that are adaptive to their organic growing conditions, and their climates. To find out more about this innovative work, please visit

You can also learn more about the PPB program on the University of Manitoba’s Natural Systems Agriculture page:

Guest Bio

Guest bio for Iain Storosko

Iain is currently doing a Masters of Geography at Carleton University, focusing his thesis in areas of agricultural geography and agricultural development. He comes from a background in environmental science and through his undergrad was strongly swayed towards the areas of sustainable agricultural production, food security, and food sovereignty. He has worked as well in seed breeding and plot research in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Quebec. His current research focuses on farmer-researcher participatory programs for crop development. His research is supported through a MITACS internship with the organization SeedChange to review their Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) program, funding provided by the Organic Farming Research Foundation.  Outside of school he enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, playing music, and experimenting with his own small organic growing. 

Guest bio for Aabir Dey

Aabir developed his passion for seeds while he was completing his Sustainable Farming Certificate at Everdale, a teaching farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario, and supporting research trials for Seeds of Diversity’s collection of over 3,000 different Canadian seed varieties. After completing a Master of Environmental Studies at York University, researching organic seed systems in Ontario, Aabir joined the The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, as Regional Program Coordinator for Ontario. Aabir has co-authored publications on Canada’s seed system including the Canadian Organic Seed Sector Environmental Scan, the Discussion Paper on Seed Policy in Canada, and Canadian Organic and Ecological Plant Breeding Priorities for Vegetable Crops. He has been instrumental in shaping and leading the training, research, and policy programs developed for The Bauta Family Seed Initiative. Aabir loves working in the field with seed producers and farmers all over Canada, and is thrilled to continue to steward The Bauta Family Seed Initiative at a national level into the future. Aabir works remotely from Guelph, Ontario.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Manitoba Organic Alliance.


Host: Scott Beaton

Narrator: Karen Klassen

Producer: Karen Klassen

Editor: Jason Peters

Podcast oversight committee: Anne Kirk, Jason Peters, Kim Wilton, Tierra Stokes, Marla Carlson, Deb Tuchelt