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The Lessons of the Great Depression

HISTORY LESSON – HOW THE EXTREMITY OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION CREATED THE OPPORTUNITY TO INSTITUTE THE MODERN ERA OF PROTECTIONS FOR AMERICAN WORKERS. Harvard professor Dr. Lizabeth Cohen explains in 'The Atlantic' that a key ingredient which allowed New Deal reforms to get passed was a cultivated sense of empathy which helped Americans see they were all in this together.
We first learned of this piece after listening to an interview with Dr. Cohen on WBUR's 'On Point. Caleb, Megan & Jim https://www.wbur.org/…/…/27/what-we-learn-from-fdrs-new-deal

"The economic collapse of the 1930s, one of the defining traumas of the 20th century, is still the benchmark against which recessions are measured. And, for many Americans, the New Deal, launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, remains the standard for how the federal government should respond to a major national emergency. By the late 1940s, the United States had exited economic calamity and entered into an unparalleled period of national prosperity—with measurably greater income equality. America did not merely endure the Great Depression; its response transformed it into a richer and more equitable society.

"Many hope to replicate that achievement today…And, perhaps above all, they pushed for unity and cultivated empathy.

"The New Deal offers us more than a simple guide for returning to some semblance of normalcy. The larger lesson it offers is that recovery is a complex and painful process that requires the participation of many, not directives from a few. And that, ultimately, we’re all in this together…

"This last point is perhaps the most important, and it may be the most difficult. Empathy, after all, has been badly missing in the United States in recent decades.

"Perhaps we’ve made a start. The iconic images of this pandemic are of nurses, doctors, and EMTs caring for the sick. Nightly displays of thanks echo in many parts of the country. Grocery-store clerks are recognized as heroes. The coronavirus’s harsh lesson in our shared vulnerability to disease—that we are all safe only when everyone is healthy—could become the basis for a broader recognition of our shared fate as Americans. Learning that lesson may help us rebuild our society into one that treats everyone as essential."

The Lessons of the Great Depression

In the 1930s, Americans responded to economic calamity by creating a richer and more equitable society. We can do it again.


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As potatoes become cattle feed, farmers wonder what the post-COVID new normal will bring | CBC News

PEI POTATO FARMERS OPERATING IN "SURVIVAL MODE" AMID COVID CRISIS. Potato farmers across the USA & Canada connected to the food-service sector are taking it on the chin. This includes both the farmers who grow russet processing potatoes and the seed farmers who provide them seed.
'CBC Atlantic' offers this on-the-ground report from the diminutive Atlantic province of Prince Edward Island where potatoes have been big business for a very long time. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"As more and more Prince Edward Island potato farmers take to their fields for spring planting, David Francis is left with 700,000 pounds of unsold seed potatoes in cold storage.

"It takes years to produce each batch of seed potatoes, the work starting in a lab, then moving into the field as each batch is bred and multiplied until it's ready for market.

"In a normal year, Francis would slice those potatoes into big pieces. Other farmers would buy them and plant them, and if the weather co-operated those 700,000 pounds would yield upwards of 10 million pounds of potatoes in the fall, ready to be processed into french fries…

""On March the 12th, we had every single potato on our farm booked and sold," said Francis…

"Within 24 hours the NHL had postponed its season, both the prime minister and P.E.I.'s premier went into self-isolation, and Francis and other seed potato growers started losing sales as P.E.I.'s potato industry — the biggest economic driver in the province — began to contract in response to COVID-19.

"Rather than being sold as seed, Francis said his remaining potatoes will likely end up as feed for his cattle — an expensive treat for the bovines, resulting in a six-figure loss of income for Francis…

"As demand from the restaurant industry has stalled, french fry processors are asking their growers to plant anywhere from 15 to 35 per cent fewer spuds this year, according to UPG, leading to cancelled orders for seed.

"The group said that's created a surplus of 80 million pounds of unsold seed potatoes."

As potatoes become cattle feed, farmers wonder what the post-COVID new normal will bring | CBC News

COVID-19 has led to an uncertain spring for potato farmers in P.E.I. and across the country, with expectations the road to recovery could be a long one.


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PLANTING SWEET CORN SEED ON MAINE'S WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. Our Spring h…

PLANTING SWEET CORN SEED ON MAINE'S WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. Our Spring heat wave continued yesterday with the second day in a row that hit the low 90s. Less than 3 weeks ago Northern Maine was clobbered with a rare 10" May snowfall.
Here, Megan works in the shade of a Red Easy-Up canopy planting 7500 transplant cells with two seeds each for our crop of exceptional heirloom Dorinny Sweet Corn. We grow corn as an organic seed crop. In 12 days we'll used our mechanical tractor-drawn transplanter to plant the corn seedlings in the field.
We transplant corn to prevent pesky crows from plucking out tender young corn plants to get at the delicious organic seed kernel at the plant's base. Caleb, Megan & Jim https://www.woodprairie.com/…/sweet-corn-seed-organic-dori…/




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Farm Workers Hard to Find in 2020 [Poll Results]

PRODUCE FARMERS REPORT LABOR SHORTAGES. Farm rag 'Growing Produce' recently conducted a poll of their online produce-farmer-readers.
The poll asked farmers to compare their seasonal-labor situation in this pandemic year to the recent past.
For context, fueled by the low unemployment rates of recent years, farm labor has been consistently cited by farmers in general – and produce farmers in particular – as a MAJOR problem. Additionally, produce farming itself is considered labor-intensive compared to machine-intensive sectors like grain and hay.
In this poll, over two-thirds of produce farmers report increased problems this year finding help and that is troubling.
"H-2A" is a federal program which allows seasonal workers from Mexico, Jamaica and elsewhere to legally work on farms. We know farmers in Maine and the northeast who in the last 5 years have opted to jump through the hoops and deal with the red tape of H-2A program in order to save their family produce farms. Caleb, Megan & Jim

Farm Workers Hard to Find in 2020 [Poll Results]

Last week we asked if you were having trouble recruiting labor in 2020 compared to past years. The results are in.


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Bayer’s Progress on Roundup Woes Won’t End Monsanto Headache

HAS BAYER'S BIGGEST HEADACHE – THAT WOULD BE MONSANTO – NOW STUMBLED TO A MILESTONE? Putting Bayer's colossal stupidity into monetary terms, its reckless purchase of albatross malicious Monsanto in 2018 has caused Bayer's stock value to drop by a third to the tune of $30 Billion.
In a due-diligence-failure of epic proportions, Bayer's purchase also unwittingly bought the tsunami of liability claims for Monsanto's deadly flagship product, the fatally-flawed broad-spectrum-chelator herbicide glyphosate, tradenamed 'Roundup.' Roundup herbicide has been linked-at-the-hip as the Toxic enabler to the dubious GE crops of Industrial Ag, including GE corn, GE soybeans, GE cotton, GE canola and GE sugar beets over the last 25 years.
Bloomberg reporting indicates verbal agreements may have been reached for a large chunk of the jaw-dropping 125,000 lawsuits against deadly Monsanto's Roundup. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"Bayer AG is close to a turning point in its legal battle over the weedkiller Roundup. But it still has work to do to convince investors that buying Monsanto made sense.

The German drug and agriculture giant reached verbal agreements to resolve tens of thousands of U.S. cancer lawsuits over its Roundup weedkiller, Bloomberg News reported Monday. While the deals have yet to be signed, they cover an estimated 50,000 to 85,000 cases out of a total of some 125,000 lawsuits, according to people familiar with the negotiations, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly…

"In April, Bayer said that the number of Roundup plaintiffs had grown to 52,500. That figure, however, only includes cases that have been filed and served in U.S. courts. Meanwhile, there is another category of cases that are being held in abeyance by plaintiffs’ lawyers under agreements with Bayer. Everything needs to be addressed, and people familiar with the matter estimate the total number of cases is around 125,000."

Bayer’s Progress on Roundup Woes Won’t End Monsanto Headache

Bayer AG is close to a turning point in its legal battle over the weedkiller Roundup. But it still has work to do to convince investors that buying Monsanto made sense.


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Greenhouse owner calls last frost date with uncanny accuracy

GREENHOUSE OWNER CALLS LAST FROST DATE WITH UNCANNY ACCURACY. Half a century ago when he was a youngster, Wade McCourry would listen to the wisdom of old-timer farmers who came into buy supplies at his father's store and greenhouse. Soaking up that folk education has given Wade a remarkable and valuable ability to understand and predict weather events.
Enter the Eastern cold spell that hit earlier this month on the weekend of May 9-10. Severe damaging frosts spilled down as far south as north Georgia and left Northern Maine with 10" of new snow.
Three months earlier Wade had predicted the cold May event and had been warning his customers. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"When the wind comes barreling down Mount Mitchell, it bears down hard on the South Toe Valley, bringing with it whatever weather lingers near the summit.

"On May 10, that wind brought sustained freezing temperatures to Open Ridge Farm, but owner Gretchen Farrell was prepared.

"That’s because Wade McCourry, the second-generation owner of Troy’s Greenhouse in Burnsville, predicted the frost back in February…

"McCourry grew up in that greenhouse, soaking up the regional wisdom from the farmers who came to buy plant starts, seeds and soil.

“'All these farmers were older guys, with wisdom beyond smartphones, newspapers and The Weather Channel,' said McCourry."

Greenhouse owner calls last frost date with uncanny accuracy

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — When the wind comes barreling down Mount Mitchell, it bears down hard on the South Toe Valley, bringing with it whatever weather lingers near the summit.


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WATCH: Maine Potato Farmers Face Uncertain Times In What Is Already An Uncertain Business

WATCH: MAINE POTATO FARMERS FACE UNCERTAIN TIMES IN WHAT IS ALREADY AN UNCERTAIN BUSINESS. Appealing new video (5:26) about the heavily-pandemic-impacted potato-industry and just posted by Maine Public.
Footage of big-scale Aroostook County potato planting and harvest is shown along with interviews of two family potato farmers whose operations lay an hour-and-a-half apart.
Up north, Dom LaJoie farms in the Acadian St. John River Valley town of Van Buren. Further south and closer to our farm, Erica Fitzpatrick Peabody in Houlton has now taken over the farm of her father, Albert Fitz.
The major disruption of the food-service sector has caused a costly, huge headache for America's potato farmers. But, as you will see, these potato farmers have know adversity before.
Just one year ago Erica Fitz and Jim were on the hiring committee for the Department Chair of UM-Presque Isle's new Agricultural Science program (https://www.umpi.edu/academics/agricultural-science/). Caleb, Megan & Jim

"And while the airline market is in trouble, LaJoie has been careful not put all his potatoes in one basket. The business is spread among the processed, fresh produce and the seed markets, which he says may buffer him from some of the financial hits many other farms are taking."

WATCH: Maine Potato Farmers Face Uncertain Times In What Is Already An Uncertain Business

About 60 percent of the potatoes produced in Maine and around the country are grown to supply the food service industries. But with everything from school


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Row Over Organic Label

LISTENING AGAIN: THIS EXCELLENT 15-YEAR-OLD INTERVIEW REMINDS US OF THE LONG-LASTING FIGHT TO KEEP CHEATER CORPORATIONS OUT OF ORGANIC. The world is full of sell-outs whose quest for riches long ago trampled honest and ethical behavior. Greed-driven aliens have been zeroing in on Organic for quite awhile.
'On Point' is the long-time interview program produced by Boston public radio beacon, WBUR. The era is June 2005 and George Bush is in his fourth year as President. Then-On-Point-host Tom Ashbrook – who grew up on a Midwestern dairy farm – tries to get to the bottom of increasing corporate fraud in the fast-growing organic industry. Tom interviews (48:43) our friend, organic watchdog Cornucopia Institute founder Mark Kastel; good food journalist Michael Pollan; and USDA-accredited organic certifier QAI's VP Joe Smilie.
To gain the most from this episode you'll want to read-between-the-lines.
QAI is uniquely notorious in the annals of organic fraud. As just one example, QAI was the certifier for Randy Contant's jaw-dropping $142 Million massive seven-year grain fraud scheme. https://thecounter.org/organic-food-fraud-usda-doj-randy-c…/
By way of disclosure, Jim is a longtime member of Cornucopia's Board of Advisors. Caleb, Megan & Jim

Row Over Organic Label

Support the news Row Over Organic Label48:22Copy the code below to embed the WBUR audio player on your sitePlayJune 09, 2005This article is more than 14 years old.Organic food is big business — $13 billion dollars a year and growing at 20 percent annually. Now, a battle is brewing between big agri…


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As major meat processors buckle under Covid-19 crisis, busy smaller competitors fight red tape

MENDING THE BROKEN FOOD CHAIN MEANS OVERHAULING RED-TAPE-OBSTACLES. Compared to relatively simple fruits and vegetables the need for the processing step adds a serious complication for livestock farmers getting their wares to consumers.
In Aroostook County, a local group of farmers tried for YEARS to establish a moderate-scale slaughter facility but in the end were not successful in overcoming the mass of challenges.
Meat monopolies have utilized – and fueled – government red tape for decades under the guise of concocted fake 'Hygiene' rules to consolidate the industry and eliminate competition.
Thirty years ago a friend built from the ground up a local slaughter house across the road from his house. He sought critical "USDA-Inspection" certyification and incorporated into his facility the required shower stall for the USDA inspector. What he didn't understand was that he was also REQUIRED to have built a SECOND shower stall for himself. He never did receive USDA credentialing so he was never allowed to package cuts of meats so that farmers could retail their meat to consumers.
For no good reason USDA is unmovable and that fact needs to change. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"Unlike their larger competitors, though, many smaller meat-processing plants in the United States report brisk business. These small- and mid-sized processors face some of the same workplace challenges as the big processors. But the real obstacle that’s preventing ranchers and farmers that utilize these facilities from supplying more meat to more Americans is an outdated federal law that props up the large processors while preventing local meat producers from selling steaks, roasts, and other cuts of meat to consumers in grocery stores, at farmers’ markets, and elsewhere in their communities."

As major meat processors buckle under Covid-19 crisis, busy smaller competitors fight red tape

America's independent meat processors could pick up lost capacity when large packers close. But federal meat-inspection laws are standing in the way.


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Maine Farms Welcome A Surge In CSA Membership Sales

MAINE FAMILY FARMS EXPERIENCING BIG JUMP IN DEMAND AMID PANDEMIC. Intersting on-the-ground report from Maine Public Radio documenting the shift underway as Maine residents increasingly seek out a direct relationship with farmers and food.
Organic family farmers are responding to the need and adapting how they serve the public. On every family farmer's mind is the question 'How long will the elevated interest continue'? Caleb, Megan & Jim

"With the depletion of certain items on grocery store shelves and the disruption to the supply chain, there is one thing the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted, and that is the importance of locally grown food. In Maine and around the country, small farms in particular are seeing a surge of interest in what they have to offer, and membership sales in community supported agriculture are especially attractive right now.

"At Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus, Jill Agnew starts up her tractor to tend to her fields that are about to be planted. Ever since the pandemic struck Maine in March, Agnew says that sales at her farm stand have been brisk, and memberships in her CSA have doubled. That is a program in which customers buy shares in the organic meat and produce that she raises, and then they pick it up on a weekly basis…

"At Little Ridge Farm in Lisbon Falls, owner and farmer Keena Tracy started an online ordering system called Farm Drop for the first time this year, in which customers can select items from 16 local vendors, pay for it ahead of time and pick it up on Fridays. Customer turnout, she says, has been incredible.

"'We were doubling every week, and now we have started to plateau, but we're at about anywhere between 70 and 90 customers every week, and we're selling over $5000 worth of product every week.'"

Maine Farms Welcome A Surge In CSA Membership Sales

With the depletion of certain items on grocery store shelves and the disruption to the supply chain, there is one thing the coronavirus pandemic has


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