Friday December 20, 2013
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Yes Snow is
a Safe Bet.
Gerritsen Snow Blowing Out High Tunnel on Wood Prairie Farm.
In Maine, this November was shy of snow. However, in the last ten days,
December has turned cold and snowy including over a foot which fell
last Sunday. Our high tunnel (the new name for what used to be called
an unheated poly covered greenhouse), full of raspberries, strawberries
and Spring greens, is 20’ x 132’ and oriented north-south.
The windward west side blows clear of snow which means the leeward east
side piles up and needs a hand so the high tunnel can shed its winter’s
snow load. Here, in the waning late afternoon earlier this
week, with a light breeze and the temperature a few degrees above zero,
you see our son, Caleb, carefully backing up the seven-foot snow blower
mounted on the back of one of our Oliver 1650 Diesel
tractors. He aims to throw the snow eastward towards our
neighbors in Canada.
Over the past hundred years
there have only been a very small handful of ‘brown’ Christmases –
meaning no snow on the ground - in Northern Maine. On the
annual December national maps which indicate where a white Christmas is
likely, all bragging aside, this is something we are real good
at. If you have a hankering for snow any Christmas, do keep
Northern Maine in mind.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
organic farmer standing up to Monsanto.
| World Watches As
Australian Organic Farmer Stands Up to Monsanto.
Steve Marsh is an honest organic farmer in
Australia. His farm and crop of organic canola were contaminated by
Monsanto’s transgenic (GE) canola. As a result Steve had his farm de-certified
under Australian organic rules transgenic contamination is grounds for
de-certification of organic farms. The good folks at Safe Seed
Foundation are helping protect Steve and have produced this excellent
MUST WATCH video (6:51)
which powerfully tells
Steve’s sad story.
farmer-customers to sign
unconscionable license and use agreements which allow Monsanto to evade
culpability and unethically shift legal liability over to Monsanto’s
In order to save his farm,
Monsanto has left Steve no option other than to sue his neighbor for
the damages ultimately caused by Monsanto’s faulty invention – GE
canola. Monsanto’s invention is faulty because when its GE seed is used
according to the manufacturer’s (Monsanto’s) instruction, GE pollen
drifts off-site and causes unrecallable destructive damage.
In reality, Steve’s lawsuit has much in common with the OSGATA et al v. Monsanto
we have been waging in Federal Court for
the last three years.
Steve is an innocent victim of
Monsanto's greed. His fight for justice represents a heroic
effort to protect the
basic principle of organic farmers’ right-to-farm-organically
Importantly, Steve's landmark case has the strength of Australian
Common Law behind it. The verdict will be precedent setting and will
affect jurisprudence around the world. Clearly, Steve's heroic actions
deserve everyone’s thanks and support, worldwide. Farmers like Steve MUST
be secure on
their own farms. The law MUST
protect farmers in their right to grow organically. Otherwise, every one of us loses
our right of access to good, clean organic food for our families.
Please join us by helping Steve
today. Please send a donation to this
link at Safe Food Foundation
which is organizing
Steve’s defense (Note: currently, the Australian Dollar and the US
Dollar are approximately at par). Thank you!
Jim & Megan
For Our Wood Prairie Farm Non-GE Organic Vegetable Seed.
| Maine's GMO Label
Bill Under Attack.
Stealth forces opposed to transparency, honesty and GMO food
labeling are attempting to pressure Maine Governor Paul LePage to go
back on his written promise to sign LD 718, Maine’s historic GMO
Labeling law. Last
July, at the end of the legislative session, LD 718 received incredible
support from the Maine Legislature, passing 141-4 in the House and 35-0
in the Senate. Back then, Gov. LePage
promised to sign the bill into law but wanted to wait until the
legislature reconvenes in January 2014 to do so.
sponsors Rep. Lance Harvell (R-Farmington) and Sen. Chris Johnson
(D-Lincoln) wrote a Bangor Daily News Op Ed defending LD 718.
which appeared this week. “There have been advances in
technology in agriculture. However, the federal government does not
test GMOs for safety or otherwise, counting on industry to provide such
testing. Monsanto can
treat people like lab rats, but we should at least have the right to
know that we are living in an experiment. LD 718 does not
make a judgment whether GMOs are good or bad, but it does take a strong
stand for transparency and consumers’ right to know what is in their
food. As we play God
with the building blocks of life, it would behoove us to show a little
Harvell and Johnson defended GMO
labeling as an important right for all Mainers and attempted to counter
article submitted by Mr. Gordon Colby earlier in
the month. Mr. Colby, a member of the Maine blueberry
industry, made numerous inaccurate assertions and displayed hostility
towards consumer interests in his article. Mr Colby is an
outlier. The Wild Blueberry Commission opted to remain
neutral on LD 718. Maine State Farm Bureau members voted
overwhelmingly to endorse LD 718 at their annual meeting in November.
2011 Bloomberg article, “Koch Brothers Spread Influence Via Blueberry
Farmer” stated Mr. Colby was a member of “Americans for Prosperity,” a
group funded by the notorious Koch brothers and
which lobbies for less government regulation. “The Koch
brothers tied for fifth on Forbes magazine’s ranking of richest
Americans last year, with $21.5 billion each in net worth, reflecting
their holdings in Koch Industries. The company, founded by their
father, Fred C. Koch, is the second- largest closely held U.S. company
after Cargill Inc., with estimated annual revenue of $100 billion,
according to Forbes. Charles, 75, is chairman and chief executive
officer, and David, 71, is an executive vice president.
The Bloomberg article also
quoted Mr. Colby, “‘I’m a farmer and I just want to farm,’ said Colby,
who lives in Waldoboro and started a Tea Party group in his area last
year. He said government regulations interfere with his farming,
without providing specifics.” The article further stated Mr.
Colby “manages 5000 acres of Maine blueberries.” As would be
typical, if half of those 5000 acres produced harvestable blueberries
each year, they would generate about $3 million in sales annually.
Gov. LePage has until January 14, 2014 to make
good on his promise to sign LD 718 into law. It would be helpful at this time
for Maine citizens to call Gov LePage’s office and encourage him to
keep his promise to the people of Maine and sign LD 718.
The phone number to Gov. LePage’s office is 287- 3531.
Be prepared to state what Maine town you are from. Thanks!
Here for Wood Prairie Farm’s Organic Vermont Compost Potting Soil.
Chief sponsor of LD 718, Tea Party Republican,
paper mill worker, organic gardener and horse logger.
Chellie Pingree. She sides with the people and family
Buckles and Pulls Farm Food Safety Regs Proposal.
American family farmers and their customers yesterday
breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated an important temporary victory
in a reversal issued by the US Food and Drug Administration
(FDA). In a surprising move - just weeks after the public
comment period ended - the FDA has admitted they have a lot yet to
learn about agriculture and have withdrawn their highly criticized
overkill proposal to address theoretical food safety concerns on
American farms. Had the FDA proposals been enacted as
proposed and without modification, many family farmers would have been
forced out of business. A revamped proposal is expected to be released
for public comment in Summer 2014.
here to read the public comments submitted last month by Wood Prairie
Farm’s Jim Gerritsen to the FDA on their proposal.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine)
– herself an organic farmer for 40 years - was one of the Congressional
leaders most outspoken in her defense of family farmers against the FDA
proposal. "’This is a major victory for farmers in Maine and
across the country,’ Pingree said. ‘The one-size-fits-all approach the
FDA was pursuing was overkill for thousands of small farmers and would
have put many of them out of business. The size of the regulation just
didn't match the size of the risk.’”
For further background on the FDA withdrawal, read
Rep. Pingree’s press release, Federal
Regulators Agree to Request From Congresswoman Chellie Pingree to
Revise Important Food Safety Rules.
Here For Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Certified Seed Potatoes.
| Notable Quotes:
Wendell Berry on Why We Don't Give Up
"We don't have a right to question whether we're going to succeed or
not. The only question we have a right to ask is what's the right thing
to do? What does this earth require of us if we want to continue to
live on it?"
Wendell Berry, Kentucky Farmer and Poet
Berry. He always deserves our rapt attention.
Photo by Angela Wotton.
Onion Thyme Jam.
3 T extra-virgin
6 medium onions
cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 8 cups)
6 medium shallots
thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1/2 c sugar
2 bay leaves
2/3 c honey
1/2 c brandy
1/3 c white wine
1/8 tsp freshly
Heat oil in
large skillet over med-high heat. Add onions, shallots, sugar and bay
leaves; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, 20 to 25
minutes. Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer; reduce heat
to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is dark golden and
syrupy, about 20 minutes. Immediately transfer to jars. Refrigerate in
an airtight container up to 1 month.
| Special Offer:
There's Still Time! Discounted Gift
Certificate Offers For Christmas.
There is snow on the ground in Maine and Christmas
is just days away…but yes! We can still guarantee your loved one will
receive a Wood
Prairie Farm Gift Certificate by Christmas. Here’s how!
have two timely Wood Prairie Farm Gift Certificate Offers for you:
Order a Gift Certificate by noon on Monday December 23 and we will Ship your Wood Prairie Farm Gift
Certificate and our new catalog via FedEx Overnite Air for FREE to arrive
Christmas Eve. (Value $35). Please use Promo Code WPF1165.
Gift Certificates minimum
value are $100 per address. Offer Ends 1:30PM
Eastern Monday December 23. Please
Order a Gift Certificate by noon on Tuesday December 24 and we will Email your Wood Prairie Farm Gift
Certificate to your gift recipient by
Christmas Eve and give you a 10% Discount
the Gift Certificate’s cost.
Please use Promo Code WPF1166. Each Gift Certificate
minimum: $15. Offer
Ends Noon Tuesday December 24. Please call or click today!
Here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic
Kitchen Potato Section.
Wood Prairie Farm Gift Certificate.
The perfect organic gift.
Our Mailbox: PLH
Hate King Harry, Monsanto Consternation, World Rejects GE Crops.
PLH Hate King Harry.
I am curious how the King Harry variety works with
leaf hoppers. Does it seem to repel at all? A commercial potato
operation started up around here about three years ago and they have at
least one 30 acre piece about two mile (as the crow flies) and every
time they spray I am swamped with Colorado Potato Beetles...Also I have
noticed an almost total absence of honey bees on my eleven apples since
he started plowing up fields into potatoes. How are the storage
abilities of this variety? Keep up the battle with the transgenic
food-like-substance Corporations. We all owe you a deep debt of
gratitude. Just hope you do not get visited by Monsanto's Blackwater
Thank you. Yes, the conventionally bred potato
variety King Harry displays moderate resistance to damage ('Hopper
burn') from Potato Leaf Hoppers. Up here in Northern Maine where PLH
pressure is normally not high, we see good control. As you go South -
and closer to where PLH over winters in the Gulf States and must
migrate north from - ability to withstand PLH pressure begins to wane.
Note, "resistance" is NOT "immunity" and therefore is a relative value.
However, for anyone who has been unable to grow potatoes because of
Leaf Hopper pressure, King Harry should absolutely be trialed. King
Harry also displays very good resistance to Colorado Potato Beetles and
Flea Beetles. It is an important, innovative new variety from Cornell.
And yes, King Harry is a good keeping potato.
Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World.
Much to Monsanto's consternation, the world's
food-insecure population will be helped by application of modern
organic farming principles and NOT by Monsanto's patented death-culture
seed. These UN studies cited in the article prove the superiority of
organic farming and that is good for the people and good for the planet.
World Rejects GE
Jim, you have a way of succinctly
describing the issue making it easy for folks to understand.
Personally, I have taken the opportunity to initiate discussions with
family, friends and colleagues. I really feel that if all of us take
just a few minutes of our time to educate ourselves and then our
family, friends and neighbors on the horrors of big Biotech's poisons
we can reach a critical mass to stop this run away train on the tracks!
Thanks for all the work you've been doing
Thanks. This much we know for sure: government and
industry are NOT giving us honest information on GE food. This article If the World Outside Hawaii Won't
Accept GMOs Why Should We? offers
"The American Corn Growers Association representing over 14,000 U.S.
corn growers issued more bad news to its members about the impact GMO
corn has had on their industry: Japan and South Korea are
buying non-GMO corn from Brazil and China instead of buying U.S. corn.
The USDA lowered its corn export forecast by another 50 million
bushels. American farmers cannot be expected to pick up the tab for a
shortsighted U.S. biotech policy that suggests foreign consumers and
importers will ultimately be forced to accept GMOs...Hawaii's GMO
papaya has taken the same path of falling production and shrinking
returns. Papaya sales for 2011 hit a low of $9 million, down from $15
million in 1998, just before the introduction of the GMO papaya." Prior
examples include market rejection of the 'Flavr Savr' GE Tomato and
Monsanto's 'New Leaf' GE Potato. These examples illustrate why Biotech
is so horrified by the prospect of GMO labeling which will provide
product transparency to consumers and allow the proper operations of
the free market mechanism. Biotech has anxiety - and for good reason -
that if given a choice consumers will run-not walk-away from their
scandalously poorly tested gene-spliced lab creations. We must do as
you advise. We MUST all do our homework and then provide concise
cautioning to those we love. This work matters and it is our
responsibility. An attitude of complacency is just lethargy combined
with buying into Monsanto's propaganda. It must be shaken off. Our
children are counting on us to do the right thing and take action.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm