Wood Prairie Farm                            In This Issue of The Seed Piece: 
 Seed Piece Newsletter           Breaking News! Prop 37 Election Fraud?
      Organic News and Commentary
                       Recipe: Winter Squash Soup.
          Friday December 07, 2012                                Special Offer: FREE Cinnamon Six-Grain Bread Mix.
                                                                                                     Mailbox: Justice, Dissent, Work of Our Ancestors & Parity Theory.
                                                                                                    
                                                                                 .                               

        Welcoming Winter.
        Aroostook County Potato Harvest. Circa 1902.  It was good digging that September of 1902.  The ten acre field depicted in this photo yielded an excellent crop of 1415 barrels (each barrel holding over 165 pounds of potatoes), totaling just shy of a quarter million pounds.  While most farmers dug their crop with a one-row ground-driven potato digger pulled by a single team of horses, this farmer was pushing hard and opted for four horsepower so that they could dig steady all day long with a bare minimum of breaks.  Demonstrating a sound grasp of the Maine work ethic, the hard working crew hand-picked every potato in this field in just two days time.  Note the low slung horse drawn “jigger wagon” in the background which was used to haul 18 hand-loaded barrels per load out of the field and into a distant underground potato storage, which is known in Aroostook as a “potato house.”  The little boy proudly displays the two foxes he had caught in his trap line - which he tended before he went to work that day as a “picker” helping the others on the crew ‘pick potatoes.”
     One hundred and ten years later, this same field is still growing potatoes in rotation.  It is part of the continuing tradition of growing high quality seed and tablestock potatoes in Maine’s Potato Empire.

Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Farm
Bridgewater, Maine

Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page





Breaking News! Prop 37 Election Fraud?
 

     The question being asked today is “Was there election fraud in California’s Prop 37, the Right-To-Know GMO Labeling initiative?" Our friends at Food Democracy Now! are reporting that "statistical anomalies" and significant "irregularities" have been uncovered by a team of independent statisticians who are analyzing raw voter data from California's Prop 37 vote held on November 6. The anomalies appear in the largest precincts of nine counties including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Alameda.  The number of votes involved are significant and the discrepancies are great enough that they have the potential for altering the outcome of the Prop 37 vote.

     Free and fair elections are the hallmark of a democratic society.  California voters and the American people deserve an honest vote, 100% transparency and a full accounting of the Prop 37 vote.

     Please sign onto the FDN! letter which urges California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to act honorably and make absolutely certain every vote is accurately reported and counted.

Stay tuned. 

Thanks!  Jim &  Megan



Election Fraud on Prop 37? Click to enlarge graphic.

    




Winter Squash Soup. Delicious meal for a Winter's day.
Photo by Angela Wotton
Recipe: Winter Squash Soup.

2 T butter
2 c Chantenay carrots (about 3 medium)
1 Dutch Yellow onion, sliced
1 stalk celery
1/2 c apple cider
2 1/2 lb Uncle David's Dakota Winter Squash, peeled and cubed
2 medium Carola potatoes, cubed
5 c vegetable stock
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ginger
Sea Salt, to taste

Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Add carrots, onion and celery over medium heat, until soft, about 8 minutes

Stir in apple cider. Add winter squash, potatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes. Add the nutmeg and ginger.

Puree the soup in batches and return to stock pot. Thin soup with water if desired. Add salt to taste and serve. Megan.
Special Offer: FREE Cinnamon Six-Grain Bread Mix

     For many days this Fall our home has been filled with the wonderful sweet scent of cinnamon.  This welcoming sensory experience came about as we experimented, tweaked and baked the developing recipe for this year’s fantastic new addition to our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Bread Mix lineup, our new Organic Cinnamon Six Grain Bread Mix.  Not only do we make all of our our own organic Bread Mixes right here on our farm to share with you, but we also grow and mill the organic Spring Wheat, Oats and Rye which serve as the foundation of this reliable and delicious new recipe.  The other complimentary organic grains in this six grain bread mix are organic spelt, corn and flax.

     Now here's your chance to earn a FREE Organic Cinnamon Six Grain Bread Mix ($5.95 value) with your next purchase of $45 or more. FREE Organic Cinnamon Six Grain Bread Mix offer ends Monday, December 10.

     Please use Promo Code WPF1135. Your order and FREE Organic Cinnamon Six Grain Bread Mix must ship by 12/14/12. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Granary Section.

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Our Wood Prairie Bread Mixes. Organic, the whole grain and nothing but the whole grain.
Our Mailbox: Justice, Dissent, Crediting Our Ancestors & Parity Theory
Let There Be Justice.

Dear WPF.
 
     The misuse of power is a dangerous thing and Monsanto is grossly guilty in this regard. My thoughts are with you and I am sure millions of people around the world support all your endeavors. The absolute insanity of legally pursuing farmers whose crops are contaminated and their livelihoods in tatters because of Monsanto GM crops is one of the worst injustices of our time.
     Bless you all for your tireless work. We in Australia have an organization called Diggers that promotes heirloom seeds and they do their best to get the message out.
     I hope justice is done for you and all the farmers, organizations and people you represent so bravely. David brought down Goliath with a well-placed stone and that action showed that anyone can take on a 'giant'. It just takes courage and the conviction to stand up for what is right.

Let there be justice in the true sense.

DC
Melbourne Australia

WPF Replies.

     Amen.

Jim & Megan

AC 21 Dissent Provides Clarity.

Dear WPF.
 
     How will that USDA AC 21 committee recommendation about farmers having to purchase insurance to get protection from Biotech contamination play into the current debate?

PZ
World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     Since the USDA's AC 21 Report departs from reality, it has little bearing on anything. Organic farmers want our right-to-farm protected. We want  Monsanto to contain their pollution on their side of the fence. We want Monsanto to respect our property rights and not trespass onto our farms and contaminate our crops. We want court protection so that if Monsanto violates our rights and ruins our crops, that we won't have to risk going bankrupt from defending ourselves against frivolous patent infringement litigation should Monsanto choose to assert their patent rights. We want the full use of our farms so we can peaceably continue our farming legacy which we have been part of for 10,000 years and is now under serious threat by genetically engineered transgenic pollution of a massive and unrecallable nature. We know that family farmers are at serious legal jeopardy and because of that the people's rights are also at serious peril. Organic farmers are not about to sell out our rights for some industry-concocted contamination insurance scheme which the American taxpayers would likely end up paying for in the end. No more corporate welfare. The 'Consensus Report' of AC 21 failed to address the real issues of unrestrained transgenic pollution. Our Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association Board member and Treasurer, Isaura Anduluz of New Mexico, is a member of AC 21. Her official Dissent is contained in the AC 21 Report (p58) and it is printed below in it's entirety because it offers valuable insight lacking in the overall AC 21 document. Jim

     "Comments from members who have not joined in consensus. Note: All comments represent comments of individual members, not policy or positions of USDA.

Isaura Andaluz:

     These final comments are respectfully submitted after review of the year-long process. The report fails to meet the Secretary’s charge. In my opinion, this stems from the process design. It set parameters that could only conclude with federal insurance as the mechanism, potential eligibility standards/tools could never be defined, and economic losses were limited only to lawsuits from deregulated genetically engineered material. At the first meeting, a draft compensation mechanism (indemnification fund) was presented by another committee member, although I and maybe others were unaware of the Secretary’s charge prior to this meeting. This preemptively set the agenda for the committees’ report.

The report:

• Does not meet the Secretary’s charge nor encourages rural economic development for all agricultural sectors.
• Uses language -- sometimes almost verbatim -- from biotech technology use guides, other co-existence sessions, and published research. In some cases the language is from twenty years ago, showing that no progress has been made.
• Puts the onus on non-GE farmers to keep their seed and crops free of GE material.
• Fails to recognize on-going economic losses non-GE farmers are incurring trying to keep their product clean.
• Faults seed producers who are contaminated for “not having adequate protocols to prevent gene flow.” The GE manufacturer and biotech farmer assume no responsibility.
• Consistently gives precedence to biotech crops and farmers in the Recommendations listed by reinforcing that everything is subject to the “market place” or “growers’ demands.”
• Makes the US taxpayer assume costs for compensation, education and training that should be assumed by the GE manufacturer who owns the patent on the unintended GE presence.
• Makes no mentions of non-commodity and smaller farmers who provide food on a local basis that also face contamination issues from patented GE and non-GE hybrids.
• Fails to mention or incorporate public input from farmers and consumers who attended the meetings in Washington, DC or those who submitted comments.

Compensation Mechanism:

     In a presentation by USDA staff, I asked if any current USDA insurance programs covered a “man-made” incident. The answer was, “No.” Insurance is for the exception. The reason no compensation mechanism can be created is because the “unintended presence of genetically engineered material” is patented. GE seeds are performing as designed and contain patented pollen; in nature movement of pollen occurs. All parts of GE plants – stalk, leaves, pollen, seed – are patented. Any farmer seed grower contaminated will not want to disclose the contamination because they are illegally in possession of a patented material and could be subject to legal action for theft of intellectual property. This was also discussed in one of the first documents we received “A Private/Public Potential Solutions….by Watts and Associates, 2011.” The committee refused to ever recognize this fact.
     A few weeks ago, I was invited to a Coexistence Forum in New Mexico where I asked a Monsanto representative for a threshold level for adventitious presence, de minimus, etc. He responded that there is no such thing as adventitious presence, only “de minimus.” He refused to provide a number and referred me to court actions on “de minimus.” The reports states that it is not realistic to guarantee zero presence of unintended genetics in seed. Three of the major GE manufacturers: Syngenta (Switzerland), BASF (Switzerland) and
Bayer (Germany) are all foreign companies that do not allow planting of GE crops in their countries. “Mack (CEO of Syngenta) said that he believed Switzerland was ‘the first best example’ of a country where protectionist agricultural tendencies worked well and that GM organisms" would not necessarily be needed…"
     One of Switzerland's greatest natural resources is that it is a beautiful country that brings in a lot of tourism. If the Swiss could lower their consumption spending by one per cent by applying high productivity farming, they probably would not do it if it requires changing their approach to how they think about food. Countries like Switzerland are a good example where such things as GM food would be very difficult and perhaps commercially inadvisable.” (Syngenta CEO promotes stronger Swiss-US ties, Swissinfo.ch, June 29, 2009). If it is reasonable for Switzerland, then why is it not reasonable for our seeds and food to have zero (0%) contamination? Why should we put at risk our seed stock production that has, and continues, to feed our country?"



Crediting The Work of Our Ancestors.

Dear WPF.
 
     Biotech has such potential! Too bad it's in the hands of unscrupulous (seems to be my word of the day...) people!! Get REAL scientists involved in biotech, not corp drones!! And keep the stuff in the lab until we KNOW what the potential fallout might be...

AS
World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     Genetically engineered seed is all about control - stealing from farmers the right to save and select seed, a process we have been doing for many many thousands of years. Farmers are being turned into a new class of serfs beholden to a new corporate class of patented life holders who were given their power by their cronies and mercenaries in the government. It is an untenable situation. Our ancestors domesticated from wild grasses the food crops which the world's people rely on. The novel events corporations are allowed to patent is tiny and infinitesinal compared to the massive work our ancestors performed over thousands of years. Where is the corporate royalty payment to the people for our creation of these basic food resources upon which this planet survives? The patenting of life forms is a rigged system and the people are victims of grand theft.

Explanation of Parity Theory.

Dear WPF.
 
Hey Jim,
     I may be missing something from the last Seed Piece article about NFU price reportings but I don't think there would be much profit selling eggs at $2.66 if corn were $12.10, soybeans $29.30, and wheat at $18.60. And who the hell can sell eggs for $1.05 anyhow. Is that really the going price? My egg carton cost $.33 and the label is $.22.

EC
World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     One thing I know is that it is the rare farm commodity crop where the farmgate price reflects the real cost because of externalized costs and subsidies. For example, America has an energy intensive agriculture and the effect of the use of our military is to keep prices "low". If one internalized military expenditures I expect that the true price of fuel would be something over $10/gallon, not the $4 we see at the gas pumps. And the price of farm crops would reflect this fuel price reality and be higher. Anyway, I know the NFU puts a lot of effort into this reporting and posts it regularly (monthly) and has been doing so for a long time.
     Interestingly, the parity formula doesn't take into account the price of farm inputs - like corn for egg production. In fact, parity is first and foremost a monetary policy. Thirty years ago I read the 'biography of parity' the father of whom is farm economist Carl Wilken who invented the theory back in the1930s. This book, Unforgiven - The Story of How America has Exchanged Parity Agriculture for Parity War was written by Chuck Walters of Acres USA fame back in 1971. The raw material economic theory known as "parity" makes sense.
     Essentially, parity theory - or par exchange - recognizes two five-year periods of unprecedented economic prosperity and stability, 1910-1914 and 1925-1929  in which basic farm commodity prices were in balance with other key metrics in the economy - which are regularly reported by the federal government (two examples that I remember are interest rates and average wage level of the American worker. However there were about a dozen metrics utilized, all independant of agriculture). The price of the nine biggest grain commodities (corn, wheat, oats, rice, barley, sorghum, etc; I don't think soy was included [soybeans were getting their start in USA and didn't amount to much acreage in those two specific five-year periods; nor were there perishables such as eggs, milk etc. I expect these perishables are add-ons by latter-day NFU parity economists]) were averaged over those two five-year periods. These basic 9 grain prices were established as the baseline 'parity' prices in relational balance to the other non-farm economic sectors.
     Parity prices later became known as '100% parity' when in the early 1950's the USA went off parity - which had been the official federal government monetary policy in place from 1942 to about 1952 - and we adopted the concept called 'sliding parity'. And the country has been sliding ever since. 'Sliding Parity' makes about as much sense as 'sliding honesty' - the reality is you are either honest or you are not honest, there is no middle ground. Either farm prices are at par or they are not. So current parity farm price levels - as depicted in the NFU chart - are established by applying the historical ratios from the two baseline periods of stability. First, economists work mathematically taking those non-ag relational metrics and establish current values based on current dollars. Next the parity ag prices are mathematically determined by applying the historical formula ratios updated in current dollars.
     Blips and bubbles caused by such factors as weather and speculation have always been present. This is why they took two five-year periods in two different decades to determine the most accurate "average farm gate baseline values." One can find weaknesses with any theory but it is notable that when the country needed stability and strength for war production and then transition to peacetime, parity delivered and performed as promised and predicted. Can't say that for the years since in which we have substituted debt creation for the creation of real wealth which parity theory explains is the process of taking from Nature (debit) and placing the resulting credit on humankind's side of the ledger.

Jim.





Wood Prairie Farm Quick Links
 

Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Farm
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(800)829-9765 Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm
www.woodprairie.com








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