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Organic News and Commentary
From Maine


Monday, March 29th, 2021
 Volume 30 Issue 3

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 Spring Forward.

It Takes Time to Learn the Virtues of Patience.

All of us in the seed world have been scrambling for the last twelve months, experiencing major impacts from the Covid pandemic. Here on Wood Prairie Family Farm we have been stretched thin and have been prioritizing keeping up with your orders with everyone pitching in. That laser focus will explain our inability to get out Wood Prairie Seed Piece newsletters as often as we’d Well I got like. Our thanks for your understanding.

 If you have not yet gotten around to ordering, you still have time! We still have an excellent selection of our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes plus plenty of packets of Organic Vegetable Seed, mountains of Organic Cover Crop Seed, and a wonderful selection in our new line of beautiful Organic Flower Seed!

We’re now at peak shipping and have a turnaround time of about five days on orders once received. Thanks for your business and support! We still have snow on the ground but Spring is on the way, even here in Northern Maine.


                                                   Our Best Selling Products!


Maine Tales. Farmers vs. Monsanto. Manhattan, New York. Circa 2012.

Today, Monday March 29, is the Tenth Anniversary of our filing OSGATA et al v. Monsanto. Jim is President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.

In a landmark Federal lawsuit organic farmers and our allies, in the form of a staggering 83 Plaintiffs – farmers, seed companies and farm organizations - in the USA & Canada representing over 500,000 citizens, sought to challenge the validity of Monsanto’s dubious GE (genetically engineered) seed patents. Simultaneously, we sought court protection from risks associated with Monsanto’s unwanted and illegal pollen-drift-transgenic-trespass. History had shown innocent farmers were at attendant risk of liability for patent infringement should unwanted contamination occur and perversely through no fault of their own, farmers come into “possession” of Monsanto’s patented seed technology without having signed a licensing agreement.

With corporate capture of the government stacking the deck against the people, we remain grateful for the relative freedom of the internet where transparency reigns and everything under the sun is up for assessment. Reviews even include the shine or malfeasance of Federal Judges as reported by the very lawyers who practice in their courtrooms. If anything, respected United States Attorney Bharara was being too kind in his candid yet breath-taking public assessment of Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald before hundreds of lawyers and judges at an event in NYC.

President Bill Clinton appointed Federal Judge Buchwald, and as fate would have it she had been assigned to our case. Jim was one of forty farmers who witnessed in-person the Oral Argument challenging Judge Buchwald’s dismissal of our case in her courtroom in Manhattan. Consistent with her grim online reviews, she was aggressively biased against our attorneys, had clearly made up her mind against us prior to the proceedings, and amazingly, appeared infatuated with lead Monsanto attorney Seth Waxman, who had been Solicitor General of the United States under President Clinton.

In the fullness of time we became informed that our work-ethically-challenged Judge Buchwald does not herself read lawyers’ legal briefs. Instead, she leaves that basic judicial job to her cadre of law clerks who then prepare for her a summary of each case. We came to learn one of her up-and-coming senior law clerk’s fathers owned a ton of Monsanto stock and an adverse outcome would have inflicted significant impact upon family wealth.

In time, upon appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. repudiated Judge Buchwald’s false assertion that our lawsuit was a mere publicity stunt and that we had imaginatively invented our claims of risk. The three Appellate justices agreed with our position that GE contamination was “inevitable” and issued an estoppel, a judicial order, against Monsanto. For the first time in US history farmers had gained protection. In the words of our attorney, Dan Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation: "Before this suit, the Organic Seed plaintiffs were forced to take expensive precautions and avoid full use of their land in order to not be falsely accused of patent infringement by Monsanto. The decision today means that the farmers did have the right to bring the suit to protect themselves, but now that Monsanto has bound itself to not suing the plaintiffs, the Court of Appeals believes the suit should not move forward."

While relieved that the Court of Appeals sided with our need for protection, we still wanted our day in court to argue that Monsanto’s GE seed patents had been erroneously granted, and were illegal and unconstitutional.

So, we appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Able to handle annually but one hundred or so cases sent their way – or 2% - we ended up in the 98% group of those cases which are ‘passed over’ by SCOTUS. We believe SCOTUS law clerks had confused our case with the recently concluded SCOTUS case, Bowman v. Monsanto. Likely too nuanced for a legal system oblivious to how agriculture actually works, in his case conventional Indiana farmer Hugh Bowman clearly desired to benefit from Monsanto ‘seed technology.’ However, in OVM, none of us had ever been customers of Monsanto, none of us wanted anything to do with Monsanto or their seed technology, and none of us wanted Monsanto to trespass onto our farms, contaminate and ruin our crops and force us out of business.

In the end after a three year battle, despite a flawed legal system, farmer assertions of unacceptable risk had been vindicated at the highest level. American farmers to this day remain protected from malevolent Monsanto thanks to that well-intended but imperfect Court of Appeals action.

It is with satisfaction and great irony that Monsanto’s sun is being forced to set under the staggering weight of tens of thousands of GE-related Roundup- Ready cancer lawsuits and the painful payout of many, many billions of dollars in compensation for their faulty product and self-serving deadly behavior. Monsanto’s fall is a direct result of recent landmark court verdicts rendered by regular Jane & Joe citizens serving on lawsuit juries. We helped prepare the seed beds. 

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


Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox