Triadic trials is a system being used world-wide now by organizations like Bioversity International to allow thousands of gardeners and farmers to act as citizen scientists in the quest to find out more quickly which varieties of crops grow best and where. It works by increasing the number of people doing trials, reducing the number of varieties trialed by each volunteer, and allowing users to easily gather and record data in the field using a cell phone or tablet. The data is then analyzed and reports are made public. We are excited to offer a version of this program in collaboration with SeedLinked, an innovative U.S. organization. SeedLinked has developed a platform dedicated to field trials of vegetables, seeds, and grain crops now being used by nationally prominent organizations like Seed Savers Exchange and Seed To Kitchen Collaborative. We are looking for at least 20 participants for each of the trial categories below to join in simple trials for assessing the viability of these varieties in the Mountain West and beyond.
The trials will be based on three different categories of grains:
- Heritage wheat
- Ancient wheat
- Hulless barley
Once confirmed as a trialist, an invite to register from SeedLinked will be emailed to you. This will be followed by a request to accept your selected categories. RMSA will send you trial packets of no more than three to four varieties for each category. You may choose to do trials in one category or all three categories. If one category is chosen, you will be sent seeds for three varieties. If all categories are chosen, seeds for a total of ten different varieties of grains will be sent. Each variety seed packet will include approximately 100-150 seeds. Trialists can then set up the trials according to their own farming and gardening practices.
In the SeedLinked app, there will be a list of general traits to assess, mostly with a “Best-Worst” star-rating to keep it quick and easy. Data will be very simple, with a focus on the basics (such as planting and harvesting dates, height and lodging, health and vigor, and a focus on which varieties grow best for you). General yield information will be gathered. Participants are welcome but not required to go deeper into the data collection with more specific, quantitative data collection by adding it in the comments section of the app.
At the end of each growing season, we will release an informative and user-friendly database of information about the grains. You will be able to look up varieties that have been grown in your bioregion and/or climate, view feedback and photos of the grains, and learn where to procure more seeds to replant for your favorites. If you successfully produce a crop, RMSA asks you to return twice as many seeds to us as you received originally, (200-300 seeds for each variety). This thousand year-old custom among farmers helps us build community by supplying the seeds to keep the trials program expanding.
We hope that you join us in trialing these grains. With the help of SeedLinked, collection and assessment of data are simplified so you can focus on growing and enjoying your grains!
“I can honestly say that working with SeedLinked has been exciting and deeply rewarding. The team is a pleasure to work with – very responsive to feedback and quick to troubleshoot any issues. The platform is tremendously useful and simple to use. The team is constantly trying to improve the user experience and the capabilities of the platform. It feels like this is the future of variety trialing and it’s exciting to be a partner in helping shape that future.” – Steffen Mirsky–Evaluation and Trials Manager, Seed Savers Exchange
“SeedLinked has enabled us to unleash the potential of our Citizen Science Corps program by transforming the way we collect, share, and use information. Since using Seedlinked we have grown our Citizen Science Corps by 100% and data collection is now easy and accessible for everyone!” – Steffen Mirsky & Philip Kauth– Director of Preservation, Seed Savers Exchange