The Seed to Kitchen Initiative

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About Us

The Seed to Kitchen Initiative from the Department of Horticulture at UW-Madison is a collaboration among chefs, farmers and breeders, to present a unique opportunity to focus on vegetable variety characteristics important to local food systems. These include flavor, fresh-market quality and agronomic performance on smaller-scale diversified farms.

There are many active vegetable breeding programs at UW-Madison, as well as a strong local foods movement supported by excellent farmers and chefs. Wisconsin is also the #2 state in the country for the total number of organic farms and for the number of organic vegetable farms. There is increasing involvement of farmers, non-profit associations and seed companies selecting for traits important to organic and direct market farmers.

Flavor and direct-market quality traits are difficult to measure in plant breeding programs. In addition, flavor has often not been a priority because of the importance of traits such as shelf life and tolerance to shipping in long-distance food systems. By working directly with chefs and farmers to develop evaluation methods for flavor, the Seed to Kitchen Initiative hopes to improve our ability to select high-quality vegetable varieties for farmers, gardeners and consumers.

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