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Government’s primal responsibility is to protect its citizens. In this era of unprecedented corporate control, citizens’ have a preeminent right to self-defense. Government’s basic responsibility of providing protection MUST extend to allowing citizens to protect themselves from the abusive impact of self-serving corporations.
Enter now what is being called the – false and destructive – ‘Monsanto Doctrine’: the ‘right’ of corporations to do whatever they want despite local laws.
This Huff Post article was recently shared by our allies in Hawaii – ground zero in the fight citizens are waging to protect their families from the harmful and UNTESTED impacts of chemical and transgenic agriculture.
HERE’S HOW WE CAN HELP: 1) watch and share the video (2:50) embedded in the article, plus 2) sign and share this petition. Thanks! Jim & Megan…

“Simply put, the Monsanto Doctrine is the right of agrochemical corporations to spray unlimited quantities of industrial poisons regardless of any local law passed to protect human or environmental safety. If it is upheld by the federal Appeals Court, then local governments around the country will be rendered powerless to protect its citizens’ basic civil right to health and safety.”

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Dr Shiva offers insight and exposes today’s biggest biopirate, Monsanto-ally Bill Gates who is maneuvering to steal ownership of seed from the people and hand it over to a small handful of multinational corporations. Jim

“A great seed and biodiversity piracy is underway and it must be stopped. The privateers of today include not just the corporations — which are becoming fewer and larger through mergers — but also individuals like Bill Gates, the ‘richest man in the world’…

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the new World Bank when it comes to using finances to influence policies in agriculture. The Gates Foundation is a major funder of the CGIAR system — and through its funding, it is accelerating the transfer of research and seeds to corporations, facilitating intellectual property piracy and seed monopolies created through intellectual property laws and seed regulations. Control over the seeds of the world for ‘one agriculture’ is Mr Gates’ target!”

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In juxtaposition with an increasingly panicked Industrial Ag stranglehold on farmers, a resilient soil-health-revolution is underway.
Kristin Ohlson reports in ‘Orion’ that this new revolution is biologically-based. It not only dramatically improves the soil health – and the quality of food – but also the financial condition of long beleaguered farmers. Jim

“’Our entire agriculture industry is based on chemical inputs, but soil is not a chemistry set,’ Haney explains. ‘It’s a biological system. We’ve treated it like a chemistry set because the chemistry is easier to measure than the soil biology’…

“‘I’ve had scientific colleagues tell me they raised 300 bushels of corn [per acre] with an application of fertilizer, and I ask how the control plots, the ones without the fertilizer, did,’ Haney says. ‘They tell me 220 bushels of corn. How is that not the story? How is raising 220 bushels of corn without fertilizer not the story?’ If the natural processes at work in even the tired soil of a test plot can produce 220 bushels of corn, he argues, the yields of farmers consciously building soil health can be much higher…

“Ray Weil, the University of Maryland ecologist, believes that farmers will someday fertilize their fields using nothing but cover-crop combinations, carefully selected for specific market crops and growing conditions.”

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Talented photographer – and our friend – Mathieu Asselin’s new book “Monsanto, a Photographic Investigation,” not only placed first in the highly esteemed international Fotobookfestival Kassel, but his work captured the UNANIMOUS votes of ALL award jurors.
Mathieu’s book will be published soon. This link offers some of the winning book’s images:…/mathieu-asselin-monsanto-a-…/
In the midst of his worldwide investigative journeying, it was almost exactly three years ago that Mathieu visited Wood Prairie Family Farm as we wound up that year’s potato planting. Mathieu interviewed Jim about our then active Federal lawsuit against Monsanto, known as “OSGATA et al v. Monsanto.” Here is Mathieu’s short video (5:50) and interview produced from that visit. Jim & Megan

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Complimenting yesterday’s post about strides made in understanding complex biologically-based soil systems, this article reports on another form of biological sophistication: how plants communicate with each other. Sophisticated? Yes, scientists have identified plant communication via both above ground plant parts AND in below ground root system.
Like many Certified Organic farmers we enhance our plant’s roots capabilities – read about it in the article – by treating seed with Mycorrhizal fungus. (‘Mycorrhizal Applications’ in Oregon has the best. Available from Int’l Ag Labs in Minneapolis).
Organic farming taps into nature’s incredibly sophisticated systems and produces high quality food and fiber in an environmentally benign manner. The soil-based organic system is superior. Why in the world would we opt to rely upon inferior synthetic chemical and transgenic inputs controlled by loathsome multinational corporate monopolies? Jim

” The remarkable conclusions from this study, published last May, are the latest shoots in a growing thicket of data revealing the unexpectedly complex ways that plants exchange information with one another. Researchers are unearthing evidence that, far from being unresponsive and uncommunicative organisms, plants engage in regular conversation. In addition to warning neighbors of herbivore attacks, they alert each other to threatening pathogens and impending droughts, and even recognize kin, continually adapting to the information they receive from plants growing around them. Moreover, plants can ‘talk’ in several different ways: via airborne chemicals, soluble compounds exchanged by roots and networks of threadlike fungi, and perhaps even ultrasonic sounds. Plants, it seems, have a social life that scientists are just beginning to understand.

“‘In the last 15 years the idea that plants are communicating has become much more accepted,’ says Richard Karban, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of California, Davis. ‘The evidence for that is now substantial, and it’s exciting to unravel all these different realms of plant communication.'”

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This time, the failure is Biotech’s heavily touted and self-congratulatory poster boy “Golden Rice.”
Despite it’s carefully-staged on-going public-relations blitz – which catapulted Golden Rice onto the cover of ‘Time Magazine’ SIXTEEN YEARS AGO (!) – the lack of progress has left the infamously falsely-vaulted concoction little more than dead in the water.
Golden Rice represents just one more broken promise from Biotech prevaricators. Incapable of inward reflection about its growing mountain of failures, Biotech’s characteristic blame-game vilification of opponents continues unapologetic and uninterrupted. Jim

“’Golden Rice is still not ready for the market, but we find little support for the common claim that environmental activists are responsible for stalling its introduction. GMO opponents have not been the problem”…

“In a recent article in the journal Agriculture & Human Values, Stone and co-author Dominic Glover, a rice researcher at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex, find little evidence that anti-GMO activists are to blame for Golden Rice’s unfulfilled promises…

“‘The rice simply has not been successful in test plots of the rice breeding institutes in the Philippines, where the leading research is being done,’ Stone said. ‘It has not even been submitted for approval to the regulatory agency, the Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI)’…

“…’The simple fact is that after 24 years of research and breeding, Golden Rice is still years away from being ready for release’…

“As Stone and Glover point out, it is still unknown if the beta carotene in Golden Rice can even be converted to Vitamin A in the bodies of badly undernourished children. There also has been little research on how well the beta carotene in Golden Rice will hold up when stored for long periods between harvest seasons, or when cooked using traditional methods common in remote rural locations, they argue.

“Meanwhile, as the development of Golden Rice creeps along, the Philippines has managed to slash the incidence of Vitamin A deficiency by non-GMO methods, Stone said.”

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First this bad bee news: “A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season.”
Then there’s the new research published by the Royal Society
(…/…/1828/20160414) which confirms that because of rising atmospheric CO2 levels, the pollen protein concentration of bee-critical Fall-food source Canada Goldenrod has experienced a steep decline compared with an 1842 baseline.
The Goldenrod decline is also consistent with well-documented declines in the nutritional content of important agricultural food crops, also attributable to rising CO2 levels.
What we do on land we control – plus where we spend our food dollars – therefore has significant impact not only on bees but also on ourselves as a species. Jim

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As the world’s seed industry strives for ever greater control of seed resources, we stray further and further away from the resilient open-source seed systems which have served mankind well for millennia.
Where do our solutions lie?
It is no coincidence that the steady and alarming industry machinations AWAY from public ownership of genetic seed resources – theft from the Commons – is undermining mankind’s ability to not only live good and full lives but also our ability to survive. Jim

“Five of the global issues most frequently debated today are the decline of biodiversity in general and of agrobiodiversity in particular, climate change, hunger and malnutrition, poverty and water. Seed is central to all five issues. The way in which seed is produced has been arguably their major cause. But it can also be the solution to all these issues.

“During the millennia before modern plant breeding began, farmers were moving around with seeds and livestock, and because neither were uniform, they could gradually adapt to different climates, soils and uses. Whenever farmers settled, they continued to improve crops and livestock. In the case of crops, the way they did it can still be seen today in a number of countries and consists of selecting the best plants, which give the seed to be used for the following season. This process was highly location-specific in the sense that each farmer did it independently from other farmers and for his/her conditions of soil, climate and uses. The enormous diversity of what we call ancient, old, heirloom varieties originated through this process.
“The transition to modern plant breeding was accompanied by a change from selection for specific adaptation to selection for wide adaptation: this became the dominant breeding philosophy and was the basic breeding principle adopted by the Green Revolution.

“…Combining seed saving with evolution and returning control of seed production to the hands of farmers, it can produce better and more diversified varieties. These can help millions of farmers to reduce their dependence on external inputs and their vulnerability to disease, insects and climate change and ultimately contribute to food security and food safety for all.”

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It is a life and death struggle. Society must decide whether the people will regain control of our food system or whether greed-driven multinational corporations will continue to consolidate their death grip. Dr. Shiva eloquently argues on behalf on the people’s behalf. Jim

“Industrial agriculture is a product of war, both at the paradigmatic level, and at the level of instruments, tools and technologies. The synthetic nitrogen fertilizers were made in the same factories that made explosives. That is why fertilizer bombs are often used interrorist attacks. The precursors of pesticides were the poison gases used in the war and nerve gases used in gas chambers…

“The so-called Green Revolution is neither “green,” nor ‘revolutionary.’ It was the name given to chemical industrial agriculture when it was imposed on the Third World. The Green Revolution was first introduced in the fertile and prosperous land of Punjab in 1965. It promoted monocultures of rice and wheat varieties bred for taking up more chemicals. The monocultures and chemical varieties were vulnerable to pests. This led to increased use of pesticides. The pesticides have led to a cancer epidemic in Punjab. Today, there is a train that leaves from Punjab to Bikaner, where there is a charitable cancer hospital — a train referred to as the ‘cancer train.'”

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Concise Potato Growing Primer

IRRESISTIBLE PRIMER ON GROWING POTATOES. This fun and valuable article from ‘Organic Authority’ is concise yet comprehensive and covers all the bases one needs to know when growing your own potatoes.
Article links offer some nice recipes plus an impressive and exhaustive chart of potatoes grown in the UK. That chart includes varieties familiar to Americans which we grow in Maine as Organic Certified Seed, such as Yukon Gold and Rose Finn Apple Fingerling.
Don’t worry – we still have a good supply of Certified Seed Potatoes if you have yet to place your order. Jim & Megan (207)429-9765…/certified-organic-seed-potatoes

“Potatoes get a bad rap. Sadly, when many people think of spuds they think of a bland, deep-fried variety contributing to our addiction to bad-for-us fast junk food. But there are many types of potatoes in numerous colors, flavors, and shapes–and they all dazzle in diverse recipes. And yes, potatoes can be a healthy food, too. Read on for tips and tricks for growing potatoes in your own backyard.”