Wood Prairie Farm
 Seed Piece Newsletter
        Organic News and Commentary
                 Friday March 15, 2013

 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

     Winter Hangs On.
     Still Living An Indoor Life. With snow up to the bottom window sill, three of our Wood Prairie cats gaze transfixed by the Black-capped Chickadee action outside our north kitchen window. Our Northern Maine fields and woods are blanketed in snow and nights can still drop to the single numbers.
     We are at peak shipping of organic certified seed potatoes and focused on getting orders out for the mid-Atlantic, plus states in the Southern Plains and Southwest. Our cellar is still 38ºF which for working away in is cool enough to chill bare fingers unless one dons a wool cap and extra vest. The final orders for this week are bound for the Post Office in the morning. Then after a moment's pause and a gaze at the Chickadees, we'll start in again on next week's orders.
     We have a good amount of organic seed potatoes left to sell, so if you haven't ordered yours yet, do let us know and we'll ship them out when the time is right and whenever you want them.

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

 Report on University of Oregon Environmental Law Conference - PIELC.

Late last month, Peter and Jim Gerritsen from Wood Prairie Farm, traveled out to Eugene, Oregon in order to attend the 31st Annual PIELC, the famous Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.  One of the largest law conferences of its kind anywhere in the world, this year’s event drew over 3,000 attendees from all over the world.

  Around suppertime on Friday, March 1, Jim gave a keynote address to a plenary session entitled “OSGATA et al v. Monsanto: Farmers Fight for Justice,” in which he described the dire situation surrounding the landmark organic community lawsuit and the family farmers quest for justice.  You may watch the address where it is posted on You Tube (26:50).

  This conference itself was an exhilarating immersion into worldwide environmental battles of every sort and inspiring interaction with exemplary individuals who have dedicated their lives to furthering the public interest as environmental lawyers, activists and policy makers. Scores of concurrent panels and workshops featuring three to five speakers each were tightly scheduled each day, all day long, and woven tightly between strategically placed keynote speeches.

  Among the eclectic panels Peter and Jim attended: Food Sovereignty as a Legal Concept; Little Fish, Big Deal; Building a Sustainable, Community-Oriented Food System and Current Issues in Chinese Environmental Law and Policy.

   We took part in an afternoon hike a thirty minute drive from Eugene, guided by a professional forester. There we cruised an endangered grove of giant old growth Douglas Fir trees on publicly-owned federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land.

   At a closing University of Oregon Law School Alumni reception, we met folks from Philomath to Pakistan. Shaker and mover environmental law professor Mary Wood searched us out and introduced us to the Public Trust Doctrine.  A remarkable concept which goes back to Roman Times, the Public Trust Doctrine asserts that government’s prime responsibility is to protect resources of the commons.  The doctrine contends that government lacks the authority to privatize the commons, be it our water, our air or the people's seeds. We look forward to learning more and reading Mary’s soon to be published book, Nature's Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age, which includes a section about OSGATA et al v. Monsanto.

  We took the long way back to the airport by heading west across the coastal mountains to Florence and then driving northward up the entire length of Oregon’s north coast highway all the way up to Astoria on the Columbia River, before heading back to PDX in that other Portland. Quite a spectacular and breathtaking ride if you ever get the chance to drive or bike it.

Jim & Peter

Jim Speaking at PIELC. Watch the Keynote on Youtube.

Maine Needs Your Help! Help us make history.
 Maine Moves Ahead on Historic Right to Know
GMO Labeling Bill.

The Maine Legislature has referenced the historic LD 718, Maine’s Right-To-Know GMO Labeling bill to the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF).  It is expected that soon ACF will announce the date for a public hearing to be held sometime in April. Here’s a new article just out that provides excellent background on this important bill.

What You Can Do To Help Right Now!

  1. If you live in Maine, write or call your Senator and Representative and ask them to support LD 718 and your Right-To-Know.  Click here to see whether either of your legislators are among the incredible 123 co-sponsors, and if they are, do thank them for their courage and leadership for sponsoring LD 718.
  2. If you live in Maine, write or call Governor Paul LePage and tell him transparency and LD 718’s Right-To-Know GMO Labeling provisions are good for Maine business and good for Maine people and request his strong support.
  3. If you are an organization, business or farm in Maine please let MOFGA know that you want to sign-onto the letter of support for LD 718 which will soon be presented to the Legislature.  Email MOFGA and let them know you want to sign-on: righttoknowgmo@mofga.org
  4. If you live anywhere on the planet Earth please consider supporting MOFGA’s pivotal leadership in creating the bill, fighting Monsanto, and developing widespread support for LD 718, Maine’s Right-to-Know GMO Labeling bill. Donations of any amount – even if you can only afford $5 – will be put to good use to help the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) get this historic bill passed.

Thanks for playing a critical role in making Right-To-Know history in Maine and the USA!

Jim & Megan

 Quotes: Wendell Berry on Corporate Power.

“This massive ascendancy of corporate power over democratic process is probably the most ominous development since the end of World war II, and for the most part "the free world" seems to be regarding it as merely normal.

- Wendell Berry

Click here for our Organic Gardening Tool Section.

Kentucky Farmer and Poet Wendell Berry. For good reason, a hero to many of us.

 Recipe: Hearty Beef Stew.
Preheat oven to 325 F.

For the stew base:
3 lb boneless beef - stew meat, shoulder or chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
3 T vegetable oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium Dutch Yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium Chantenay Carrot, coarsely chopped
Red Russian Garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano, thyme or sage
1 c red wine or water
2 1/2 c beef or chicken stock
1 1/2 c water

In a dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, heat 3T oil over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Season about one-third of the meat with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer in the pot. Brown well on each side. Transfer meat to a bowl and repeat with the rest of the meat.

With at least 2T of fat remaining in the pot, add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook over medium heat, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and dried spice, season with salt and pepper and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer. With vegetables still in the pan, deglaze the pan with wine or water, stirring to dissolve any browned bits on the bottom. Raise the heat to medium high and boil to reduce by about half, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the beef or chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil.

Return the meat to the pot along with any accumulated juice. Cover the pot tightly and cook in the oven for 1 hour.

Root vegetables:
2 medium Dark Red Norland potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium Dutch Yellow Onions, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
2 medium Chantenay Carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Frost Sweet Parsnips, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces

After the meat has cooked for 1 hour, carefully remove the lid from the pot and add the vegetables. Stir to combine. Replace lid on pot and return to oven and cook 1 to 1 1/2 hours more, until meat is fork-tender.

A wonderful winter meal. Megan
 Special Offer: FREE Organic Vegetable Seed!
     Many of our customers have already learned about the exceptional quality and productivity of our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed. In addition to the organic seed we grow and sell, we offer the best of the best organic seed grown by other certified organic farmers, especially those folks we know well through the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.
     Now here's your chance to earn Four FREE Packets of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed (Value $13.00) – Your Choice of Variety - when the goods on your next order totals $45 or more. Four FREE Packets of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed offer ends Monday, March 18, 2013.

     Please use Promo Code WPF1141. Your order and Four FREE Packets of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed must ship by 5/8/13. Offer is limited to one packet per variety and may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Garden Vegetable Seed Section.

The Best Organic Vegetable Seed. Right here at Wood Prairie Farm.
Our Mailbox: Accelerating to Oblivion, Casting Blame and Unwanted Invaders.

Accelerating Us To Oblivion.

Dear WPF.

"FDA aims to sterilize our food through the Food Safety Modernization Act."

     This is really scary. Somehow the entire Corporate ~ ChemAg ~ Pharmaceutical conglomerate just doesn't get it. Here we are facing a tough environmental crisis and their understanding of the natural world is accelerating us to oblivion. What is needed is an aggressive educational campaign to the masses. This is our food supply under attack here, how more fundamental does it get?!

Greenville NC

WPF Replies.

     Maybe Eliot Coleman's great "Tapestry essay", Organic Agriculture: Deeply Rooted in Science and Ecology, will offer some valuable insight into the understanding shortfall you refer to.


Casting Blame For Food Shortages.

Dear WPF.

Note the writer of this NY Times article 'Why Label Genetically Engineered Food?' never tells the reader that GMO's have never been tested for safety by the Corporate-owned FDA. I have seen the move in the NYT towards being a tool of the Corporate owners of the USA. Sad, we do not have a press that gives information. Though I think the momentum is gaining and the next "excuse" in the food shortages caused by droughts will be GMO labeling laws, watch this play out.

Portland ME

WPF Replies.

     I understand your concern. Big Ag will want to draft a scapegoat. GE 'drought tolerant' corn has already been exposed as a fraud including this monumental study at Rodale Institute. So we have no reason to be surprised that 'drought tolerant' corn failed in last year's historic Midwestern drought. And let's do make mental note of drought-year-2012 as the last year before GMO labeling laws were passed in the USA. 'Drought tolerant' corn failed all on its own vast shortcomings. The short crops were, of course, not because the people demanded transparency and finally passed GMO labeling laws like LD 718 Maine's Right To Know GMO Labeling bill. But the truth won't stop biotech from lying and cheating.


Dealing With Unwanted Invaders.

Dear WPF.

I still don't understand why a farmer could not sue Monsanto for invading his crops, as an invasive, unwanted pest.

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     There is the 'Fair Use' doctrine in copyright law; however there is no such parallel in patent law. Patent rights in the US are absolute. The only way one can 'possess' patented material is if one has signed a licensing agreement and paid royalty of the patent holder. It doesn't matter whether one has intention to possess or even if one has knowledge of possession. If one is in 'possession' of Monsanto's patented material without authorization then one is at legal jeopardy for patent infringement litigation. Watch this CBS news video (4:02) of David & Dawn Runyon's bad experience with Monsanto. This unwarrented legal jeopardy isn't fair for our farmers and that is why we've gone to court with 'OSGATA et al v Monsanto' in order to gain court protection.
     Many organic and non-GE farmers are fearful of the following scenario. Say they become contaminated by Monsanto's patented GE seed and thereby suffer crop loss and economic harm. Then they decide to recover damages from Monsanto for the inflicted loss by taking Monsanto to court and suing them. There is widespread fear that in this situation Monsanto would then counter sue the farmer and claim infringement of their seed patents. The fear is that Monsanto would cite as prima facie evidence that farmer-initiated lawsuit: that suit would be 'proof positive' that the farmer was in 'possession' of Monsanto's patented material without permission and without having paid royalty. That is the injustice we face. If we succeed with our lawsuit, 'OSGATA et al v Monsanto,' farmers who want nothing to do with Monsanto or their GE technology will receive court protection from Monsanto under the Declaratory Judgement Act. So , our OVM lawsuit is in pursuit of simple basic justice for farmers. If we win our lawsuit, it lays the groundwork to assurre consumers the right of access to an alternative in the marketplace for something besides Biotech's GE food.

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