Wood Prairie Farm
 Seed Piece Newsletter
        Organic News and Commentary
           Thursday February 28, 2013

 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

     Securing Our Families. Securing Our Future.
     Corporate Self Interest over Our Right-To-Know. The companies depicted in the graphic above (ourthanks to GMO Free USA) were part of Monsanto’s team which spent $46 million last Fall to defeat California Prop 37, the people’s Right-To-Know GMO Labeling referendum.  The landmark attempt at labeling transparency was narrowly defeated after an egregious biotech campaign of lies and distortions fooled enough voters for the opposition to eek out a very narrow ‘victory.’  Now the State of Maine and numerous other states across the country are pressing for historic legislation which will protect our citizens and require truth in labeling when it comes to food containing genetically engineered organisms (GMOs).  Let’s spend our dollars wisely and divert our dollars away those which would oppress us. Let’s instead support those companies and institutions which are good for our families, good for our communities, good for our country and good for the world.  Our efforts mustn’t stop there, however.  We must work for system change and support our allies working on our behalf.  Please watch this excellent video (14:51) of Mainer Stacy Mitchell “Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy” to get a fuller picture of what we must do.

 Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
 Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page

 Maine Quietly Mounting Massive Support for
Historic GMO Labeling Bill.
     For many months legislators and community leaders in the State of Maine have been quietly building broad and unprecented support for passing a historic first-in-the-nation Right-To-Know GMO Labeling law.  This week the bill, LD 718, jointly sponsored by the bi-partisan team of Representative Lance Harvell (R-Farmington) and Senator Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln), was introduced to Maine citizens and legislators.

     The bill has the tri-partisan support – Republicans, Democrats and Independents - of 123 co-sponsors.  This is an astounding number of legislators in light of the fact that Maine’s citizen Legislature has only 35 Senators and 151 Representatives.  This remarkable display of solidarity is a reflection of the strong support all across Maine for basic honesty and transparency in labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food.  There are many unanswered questions as to the impact of GE crops on such varied concerns as human and livestock health, soils, environment, religious beliefs, farmer sovereignty and rural decline.  Therefore, it is only fair and reasonable that Maine consumers be provided truthfulness in GMO labeling which is the tool needed to allow us to determine how we spend our family’s food dollars.

     Last Fall, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardener’s Association Board of Director’s, with the full support of longtime Executive Director Russell Libby, designated passage of a GMO Labeling bill as top priority for 2013.  MOFGA has been spearheading efforts for the bill’s passage and is part of the national coalition of states fighting for GMO labeling.

     MOFGA is in urgent need of contributions to help fund the work needed to fight Monsanto and win passage of LD 718. Please help our effort in Maine TODAY by donating whatever you can – even if only afford $5!

  Thanks for your support!

Jim & Megan

Click here for information on Maine’s Right-To-Know GMO Labeling bill.

Maine On the Move. The State of Maine's Official Motto is "Dirigo" (I lead).

Good Weather information. And then some.
 Adrenaline for Weather Watchers.  

     For those of us who work and play outside and like staying abreast of the weather or for any other kind of weather nut, here is the absolute last word jaw-dropping mother lode weather info site: The Ultimate Weather Education Website.


Click here for our Certified Organic Vegetable Seed.
 Study: Organic Strawberries Are the Best.

     Some of the financially-conflicted self-serving detractors of organic farming love to sing the refrain “There is no proof organic is better for you than conventionally grown food.”  Common sense disputes this notion because of the important fact that organic farming pays great attention to soil health and biology, to the building fertility with natural materials like ground rock powders, green and barnyard manures, and avoids persistent and deadly toxins which poison food and the environment.

     Our sensible hunch is confirmed in this classic landmark Washington State University study, Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Agrosystems, which confirms that organic, indeed is best.

     Here are some of the study’s conclusions.  “We found that the organic farms had strawberries with longer shelf life, greater dry matter, and higher antioxidant activity and concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds, but lower concentrations of phosphorus and potassium. In one variety, sensory panels judged organic strawberries to be sweeter and have better flavor, overall acceptance, and appearance than their conventional counterparts. We also found the organically farmed soils to have more total carbon and nitrogen, greater microbial biomass and activity, and higher concentrations of micronutrients. Organically farmed soils also exhibited greater numbers of endemic genes and greater functional gene abundance and diversity for several biogeochemical processes, such as nitrogen fixation and pesticide degradation.  Our findings show that the organic strawberry farms produced higher quality fruit and that their higher quality soils may have greater microbial functional capability and resilience to stress.”

Click here to read how Monsanto believes "you should be fully aware of the facts before making a purchase of strawberries and "the use of biotechnology in food".


Click here for Our Organic Seed Potatoes.

Organic Strawberries. Yes, a study proves they are the best.

Better Policy Needed. The sooner the better.
 Quote: What Does Monsanto Believe?
Depends on Where You Live.

“If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it. - Kansas City Star, March 07, 1994

Norman Braksick

President, Asgrow Seed Co
(A subsidiary of Monsanto)

Monsanto Caught in Duplicity.

     As the top contributor to defeat the 2012 CA Prop 37 Right-To-Know GMO Labeling referendum, Monsanto contributed $8,112,867 in fighting labeling of GMO food.  Looks like they really hate labeling GMOs.
   However, if you lived in the UK you would find the following words proclaiming Monsanto support for GMO labeling, left over from the 1990s, still posted on the Monsanto UK website and aimed at you:

Food Labeling.  It has Monsanto’s Full backing.

"Before you buy a potato, or any other food, you may want to know whether it's the product of food biotechnology. Monsanto is a leading biotechnology company. Our potato, corn and soybean seeds are adapted to produce better yields through better control of pests and weeds. In a step on from traditional cross-breeding, a naturally-occurring beneficial gene has been inserted into the plants' genetic make-up. We have complete confidence that our food crops are as safe and nutritious as the standard alternatives. Recently you may have noticed a label appearing on some of the food in your supermarket. This is to inform you about the use of biotechnology in food. Monsanto fully supports UK food manufacturers and retailers in their introduction of these labels. We believe you should be aware of all the facts before making a purchase. We encourage you to look out for these labels.”

The real fact is that the people everywhere deserve GMO labeling.  What’s good for UK is good for the whole world, Monsanto.

Jim & Megan

Click here for the latest on Maine’s Historic Right-To-Know GMO Labeling Effort.

 Recipe: Blueberry Breakfast Bars.

2 c fresh or frozen blueberries
2 T sugar
2 T water
1 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c rolled oats
2/3 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 c butter, melted

In a mixing bowl stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir in melted butter until thoroughly combined. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture for topping. Press remaining oat mixture into an ungreased 9-by-9-by-2-inch pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

In a medium saucepan combine berries, sugar, water, lemon juice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 8 minutes or until slightly thickened; stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Carefully spread filling on top of baked crust. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture. Lightly press oat mixture into filling. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes more or until topping is set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Makes 18 bars


Scrumptious Blueberry Breakfast Bars.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Dark Red Norland. Excellent, early, high yielding.
 Special Offer: FREE New & Experimental Variety
Seed Potatoes.
     Part of the fun of farming and gardening is trying out new varieties of everything including organic Certified seed potatoes.
     Now here's your chance to earn One FREE 1 Pound Sack of New Seed Potatoes ($10.95 value)  – Your Choice of Dark Red Norland, Yukon Gem, Huckleberry, German Butterball, Classic Russet, Prairie Blush, Adirondack Blue or Adirondack Red. when your next purchase totals $45 or more. FREE 1 Pound Sack of New Seed Potatoes offer ends Monday, March 4, 2013.

     Please use Promo Code WPF1140. Your order and FREE 1 Pound Sack of New Seed Potatoes must ship by 5/8/13. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Seed Potato Section.

Our Mailbox: Selecting Seed, Eye on Ball, Empathetic Builders, GE Potatoes & Revolutionary SRI.
Selecting Seed.

Dear WPF.

Making my list of Must Haves for the Garden this season. Here in Zone 4-5 it is Cold and White outside but we can be planning. The Gerritsen family has been keeping us growing for many years and I have ordered from them several times! What colors of potatoes do you grow?

Whitehall WI

WPF Replies.

     Thanks for your loyal support. We grow Reds, Goldens, Whites, Purples and Bi-Color. May we suggest  that you consider growing our Prairie Blush? This is a new potato (genetic variant) we discovered growing on our farm 12 years ago. It has golden flesh and a beautiful pink blushed golden skin. One of our farmer seed customers gave up growing German Butterball - for many folks the standard of excellence for taste - after trying Prairie Blush because of what she called Prairie Blush's superior flavor.

Jim & Megan

Eye On The Ball.

Dear WPF.

In 'Bowman v. Monsanto' the problem is the bigger danger to the environment and our health is very likely the Roundup that Mr. Bowman sprayed. We should be investing our emotional and political capital on removing pesticides from our environment. I'm not saying that GMO's aren't bad, but pesticides ar emuch worse, with a large and growing body of solid irrefutable scientific evidence. We in the organic community have taken our eyes off the ball - we should be fighting pesticides first, GMO's second. If we put as much effort into opposing Roundup itself, we would indeed be getting 'two in one blow'. 

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     I believe our eye is on the ball. Inextricably linked to GE crops is the issue of who controls the world's supply of seed - seed on which the planet's people rely. Many of us consider this a matter of paramount importance. I expect Mr. Bowman, like many farmers, is not aware of the disasterous consequences of using Roundup. However, we are aware of the steady march of control of the seed supply by corporations. Mr. Bowman deserves credit for the courage to pursue his highest sense of right and for standing up to one of the world's foremost corporate bullies. I wish the Supreme Court justices had exhibited more grasp that patenting of life forms and patenting cell phones are two different universes.


Empathetic Builders But With A Stacked Deck.

Dear WPF.

Are we raising a next generation of greedy destroyers or empathetic builders? I'm not sure how to put this but here goes...all these companies who are harming the environment, perhaps irreparably, employ many hundreds of thousands (millions) of 99%ers. I see some young folks now refusing to work for irresponsible organizations. That gives me hope. However our whole insane system is based on consuming...consuming anything and everything, as many as possible to serve the 'shareholders' (some of the 99%) for profit. If we achieve our goal of a saner "economy" based on more self reliance and local community empowerment and production, the transition for many many people will be extremely painful. The tar sands and extractive industries that roam the world upsetting indigenous peoples ways of life and polluting the land forever, employ millions of workers to feed the system. Little thought has been given to how these "innocents" can transition to a different, rational world. In our town average property tax is over $3000 a year, food, heating, water likely add another $5000 a year to the expense account. Then there is the outstanding debt and mortgages that many of us face. While many of us see that we are driving fast towards a wall, many of us don't see options. No University grad who has student loans and wants to start a sane organic life in the country can afford land, taxes, equipment etc (subsidies go to the 1%)....There are many issues. Sorry for the rant. Jim, please keep up your heroic battle..it is vitally important. It is one of many that we must address for the future of all living beings.

Ottawa ON

WPF Replies.

     Well, the 99% are empathetic builders. And yes the deck is stacked. We have the responsibility to be conscious and to do the best we can within our own families and in our communities. If one doesn't have a garden start this year - even if only window boxes on your window sills and do buy organic seed from family-scale companies. If one has a garden, make it bigger. Welcome new opportunities. I just took an order for organic seed potatoes from a customer who has a plot in a community garden on a nearby forty-year-old 250 acre organic farm. At the same time that we live local we must act global. Support our allies who are selflessly fighting to keep our food options free, to label GMOs, to stop fracking, to stop child slavery, to get corporate money out of politics by overturning Citizens United and the thousands and thousands of other worthwhile efforts to help free humankind from imposed enslavement. As the proverb says, "If you are facing the right direction, all you have to do is keep on walking."


Who Wants GE Potatoes?

Dear WPF.

Alfalfa and potato are now gmo?

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     Roundup Ready GE alfalfa was 'deregulated' and approved for use by farmers in a poor decision issued by USDA two years ago. At present there are no GE potatoes grown in the USA. Monsanto's 'New Leaf' genetically engineered potatoes were voluntarily removed from the market by Monsanto over ten years ago after McDonald's announced they would no longer purchase french fries made from GE potatoes. Monsanto's 'New Leaf' potatoes were gene-spliced with a bacterial toxin insecticide so that every cell of the potato- including the edible portion - expressed this toxin. In the mid 1990s, Maine was one of many states where Monsanto introduced their 'New Leaf' potatoes. Monsanto was required by the Maine Board of Pesticide Control to register the potatoes themselves as an insecticide. Who did Monsanto think would want to eat those potatoes? No wonder Monsanto fights labeling of GMO food.


Norman Uphoff & Revolutionary SRI.

Dear WPF.

For 40 years now, says Uphoff, science has been obsessed with improving seeds and using artificial fertilizers: "It's been genes, genes, genes. There has never been talk of managing crops."

     This gets right to the crux of one of the severe shortcomings of Chemical farming. Our land is surrounded by farms employing this method and I can tell you there is hardly any management at all of their crops. You never see anybody, just the occasional showing up of their giant spray rigs with presumably a person inside the cab, and then they're gone. No attention to the soil and its health. No person on the ground walking and observing the fields. I call it absentee farming. The thing is, the soil is a living and breathing organism just like rest of cows, sheep, chickens, etc. on the farm. Good husbandry reaps a better product and a better relationship to all the inhabitants. Cooperate advocates; push the opposite idea: less effort and less attention and resulting out of touch, unhappy farms and farmers.

Greenvile NC

WPF Replies.

     System of Rice Intensification is one of the most exciting and revolutionary developments in 50 years. Modern American agriculture is in a maniacal drive for producivity to the exclusion of all other values. What have we won for our 'highly productive' agriculture? A system addicted to cheap energy which poisons the environment, enslaves those who work the land with monsterous debt and generates faux food laden with chemicals and biotech applications the sum of which renders the harvest hazardous to both man and beast. SRI is a breath of fresh air.


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