The SCOPE Project


The Student Collaborative Organic Plant Breeding Education (SCOPE) project is a student-led collaborative of student plant breeders, guided by faculty and staff, working with local organic growers on improving crop varieties for organic farming systems in California. The organic plant breeding project was developed in 2015 in direct response to California's organic growers, who have reported a scarcity of seeds for cultivars that meet the needs of organic farming. Using traditional, field-based plant breeding methods, new varieties of tomatoes, wheat, spinach, celtuce, and zinnias are being developed on certified organic land at the Student Farm at UC Davis. Additional trials are held at Cal Poly Pomona and UC Santa Cruz to breed for the hotter, drier conditions of Southern California and the cooler, wetter conditions of the coast. The breeding objectives of these projects were based on input from local organic farmers and the Organic Seed Alliance, as well as the diversity of their cropping systems and growing seasons. In addition to managing the breeding projects, SCOPE students participate in seminars focused on organic farming methods, plant breeding, and project management. They also host events such as field days and taste tests to showcase their work to a broader audience.


Student Opportunities

The SCOPE project offers internship credits and paid positions for current students at UC Davis and our affiliated campuses. Internships are on a first-come, first-served basis and don’t require any prior experience. To get on our internship waiting list at UC Davis, fill out the Student Farm internship interest form. More information about our internships are available on the Student Farm website: Paid student assistant positions with SCOPE at the UC Davis Student Farm are posted on Handshake and require prior experience in farming or research. If you have any questions, email us at  

Volunteer opportunities are also available for graduate students, including as a breeding project team lead. If you’re a graduate student interested in working with the project, email

Keep up with our project! Follow us on Instagram @ucdscopeproject or sign up for the Student Farm ( listserv using by following these directions.

SCOPE is funded by a USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative grant (Award # 2023-51300-40963).