Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
                      Friday, May 29 2015
                       Volume 21 Issue 11

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 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

    Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

     Nepal Gets Help From Maine: Emergency Bags of Rice Help Earthquake Survivors in Nepal. This photo - and those in the following article - were taken Thursday, May 28, in the isolated Nepali village of Dhading. With relationships cultivated over the last five decades by Mainer Jeff Kaley, 100% of the cash donations he is collecting are going to directly help earthquake victims in Nepal. Please read more about this fascinating, unfolding story and about our ability to pitch in, make a difference and help Nepalis in critical need.

Please join us and help if you can. Even $5 goes a long way in Nepal.

Breaking News Flash! GE Crop Ban in Jackson County Oregon Upheld by Court Today!
 Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine

Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.

Maine Tales.                            The Mainer Making A Difference in Nepal.                Galganjen, Nepal. Circa 2015.

Earthquake Devastation in Dhading, Nepal. All eighteen homes in the very remote village of Dhading escaped the first earthquake but were destroyed by the second major quake which followed. (Click on photos to enlarge)

Dhading After the Quake. After recent earthquakes destroyed the homes in their villages - and fearful of further quakes - survivors in Dhading, Nepal have used ingenuity to create shelters.

Detail on Typical Nepali Construction. Laid up stone mortared with mud and dung.

 One of the first people Jim met in the town of Bridgewater in mid-1970s was energetic and charismatic homesteader, Jeff Kaley.  Sharing both community-mindedness and an irresistible attraction to helping those without advantage, thus began an enduring forty-year friendship between the two of them. In time Jeff moved kit and caboodle down to the coastal hamlet of Brooksville on Maine’s Blue Hill peninsula.  There, Jeff has been a woodworker, entrepreneur and most recently, Fair-Trade certified developer and importer of folk art from rural Asia in a right-minded business he named Asian Spiritual Art.

   Way back in 1967, Jeff was a Peace Corps volunteer assigned to the Ag Extension program in Nepal.  His work was helping his Nepali friends and centered on vegetable production, horticulture, family planning, rodent control, animal husbandry and anything else he could do to enhance the quality of life for the rural people.  

  Even in the best of times, life is very difficult for rural people in Nepal. Remoteness is extreme and difficult to comprehend by Western standards.  Nepali annual per capita income is just $300/year.  Imagine this, for a hard day’s work, rural men typically earn fifty cents, and rural women - working just as hard - thirty cents per day.  Most rural Nepali villages exist without electricity, though a few might have a solar charger for a radio or a light.  On the other hand, cell phone towers - built by the Japanese - give Nepal nearly universal cell phone service of a quality better than we enjoy in Maine.

  Jeff’s Nepal Peace Corps experience transformed itself into a lifetime of dedicated commitment to helping his Nepali friends.  For 47 years, on a regular - almost yearly – basis, Jeff has returned to Nepal.  He has fostered many long-term caring relationships with individuals, families and communities.  Using his own money, and some from friends in America, for many decades Jeff has worked to help rural friends in Nepal.  A few of his joint projects include developing school infrastructure, building a community library, donating stipends to poor and disadvantaged students (mostly girls and low castes), building a foot bridge across a dangerous monsoon crossing, donating solar lights to rural health posts - and to one - a birthing table, and offering stipends to help poor people receive medical aid. 

   This past February, Jeff and his son Justin (who lives and works in China) visited Galganjen, a village of the Magar tribe, located about 50 miles as the crow flies from Dhading.  So remote is Galganjen that Jeff and Justin were the first white men to ever visit their village.  Before they left, the Kaleys gave their friends in Galganjen $800 for their local school.

   “I encourage Nepali self-confidence to develop in a meaningful way suited to them,” said Jeff.  “They need not feel inadequate for the lack of ‘development’ there.  These are some of the most generous, hospitable, friendly and community-minded people I have ever had the privilege to live around.”

   Major earthquakes which began in April are almost beyond imaging.  Hundreds of thousands of homes have been destroyed across Nepal.  Survivors, fearing further building collapse, are living outside under tarps.  The harsh monsoon season is just weeks away.

   In Jeff’s customary, no-nonsense, get-thing-done manner, he has created what is in effect an ad hoc private-direct-relief-effort rushing donated American dollars to trusted friends on the ground in Nepal who are seeing to it that survival basics – like food and shelter - are making their way directly to rural quake survivors.

  This week, Jeff’s team engineered the first aid to the very remote village of Dhading – twenty bags of rice were distributed among Dhading’s eighteen families.  All eighteen homes in Dhading had been destroyed by the first quake.

   Galgenjen escaped damage from the first earthquake.  However, the second major quake caused the collapse of ninety-six homes in the village.  Again, Jeff’s team was able to respond and brought desperately needed relief to Galgenjen in the form of sacks of rice, lentils and salt.

   How We Can Help. The monsoon season begins in a few short weeks and with it comes radically increased difficulties for relief.  Because of poor transportation infrastructure, forwarding food supplies - like rice - during torrential rains will subject them to likely spoilage. All of us can help MOST by donating funds NOW so relief can happen before the monsoon.  100% of our donations will go to help those in need: Jeff and his team are donating all of their time.  Please, everyone help if you can.  Even $5 goes a long way in Nepal.  Thank you!

Jim & Megan

Survival Essentials. In an efficient manner, Jeff is collecting donations from America to help in Nepal. In collaboration with trusted friends on the ground in Nepal he is getting tarps, rice, salt and other essential goods directly into the hands of distressed villagers in Dhading and elsewhere.

Jeff Kaley, Maine's Unconventional Nepali Friend Philanthropist. A five decade journey from the Peace Corps to entrepreneur direct-aid-worker for the good and challenged people of Nepal. 

To Donate To Help Nepal via Paypal.

Once on Paypal, Click on the Send Money tab.
Enter jeffreespirit@gmail.com
Choose dollar amount to donate.
Click I'm sending money to family or friends.

Thank You!

Special Offer: FREE Organic Potato Fertilizer.

      Everyone should have on hand a few sacks of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Potato Fertilizer to help plants that look a bit peaked and need to be perked up.  This fertility boost is especially valuable if you have a new garden or when growing heavy feeding crops like potatoes, squash and corn.

     Not certain if a crops needs a fertility boost?  Here’s a simple test. Divide a crop’s plot in half and side-dress some fertilizer onto one portion of the growing crop by gently working organic fertilizer into the soil at the base of the plant.  Record the details of your fertilizer test.  Observe any differences in growth and yield.  Improvement seen in the fertilized portion is a good indicator your garden will benefit from additional fertilizer.  Adequate soil fertility will give you the best nutrition, the highest yields and best crop quality.

     Get a FREE 3 lbs Sack of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Fertilizer – Your Choice of “Potato Fertilizer” or “All-Purpose” (Value $9.95) - when the amount of goods in your next order totals $45 or more. FREE 3 lbs Sack of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Fertilizer offer ends 11:59 pm Tuesday June 2, 2015.

     Please use Promo Code WPF 463. Your order and the FREE 3 lbs Sack of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Fertilizer must ship by 6/25/15. This offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Questions? Call Wood Prairie Farm (800) 829-9765.

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.

A Tad Peaked?
Especially if you have a new garden maybe you need a boost with organic fertilizer.

Good Food From the Garden. What's the reason you garden?

Winner from the Last Seed Piece & Our New Wood Prairie Survey.

    After the Wood Prairie Survey in the last Seed Piece, we received ample confirmation you believe there are plenty of great potato varieties out there to grow!  Fourteen different varieties received votes with Prairie Blush and Yukon Gold way ahead of the pack in a neck-and-neck tie for first place.

     Our drawing winner from those of you who took that Survey was our longtime customer, Elana Sofko of Purdys, New York.  As her prize, Elena will be receiving a FREE 5-Pound Sack of Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop Seed.

     Please join in the fun and take today’s Survey.  Our New Question:  Why Do You Garden?
     Everyone who takes our New Survey will be entered into a drawing for a FREE Cobrahead Hand Weeder.

Click Here For Our Wood Praire Farm Organic Garden Seed.

 Video: Wood Prairie Piglets Discover Wading Pool on Hot Day.

     Maine received its first hot Spring day recently and to keep everyone cool we set up a wading pool in the pig pasture.  Watch this quick You Tube video (1:04) as our six-week-old Guinea Hog piglets find their initial experience in the fresh water on Wood Prairie Farm a cool concept.


Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed.

Living the Good Life on Wood Prairie Farm. Cooling down on our first hot Spring day.
Recipe: Shepherds Pie.
14 T butter
2 lbs lamb shoulder (or beef), trimmed and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 T flour
1 1/2 c beef stock or water
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 T finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 T finely chopped thyme leaves
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 c peas
3 large Butte potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled and quartered
1/2 c half-and-half

Melt 2 T of the butter in a large pot over high heat. Add one-third of the lamb or beef and brown on all sides, 4-5 minutes. Transfer lamb to a plate and repeat the process two more times, using 2 T of the butter each batch. Add onion and carrots to pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook until softened, scraping up any browned bits, 3-4 minutes. Return lamb or beef and its juices to pot along with flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Stir in stock or water, worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until meat is tender, about 40 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 35 minutes more. Remove from heat, stir in peas and set aside.

Meanwhile, put potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and add 6 T of butter, half-and-half, salt and pepper to taste. Mash smooth with a potato masher.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Transfer meat and vegetable mixture to a 2-quart casserole dish. Top evenly with mashed potatoes. Cut remaining 2 T butter into small cubes; scatter over potatoes. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Serves 6

One of our family's favorites.


Shepherds Pie.
Photo by Angela Wotton
Our Mailbox: Authentic Organic and an Honest Alternative.

Authentic Organic.

Dear WPF.

     If organic is to thrive and survive it HAS to maintain its own integrity - as a real an meaningful alternative to industrialized agriculture. Slipping in modifications to the National Organic Program to allow "industrial organic" operations to more easily qualify (like the permitting of organic hydroponic operations; chick and egg CAFOs, etc.) will only marginalize the organic label as we wave goodbye to our righteous dedicated consumers.


WPF Replies.

     I agree with you. We have been told the USDA NOP regs are supposed to be "scale neutral." However, what is clear is USDA is scale-biased in favor of large-scale industrial "organic." USDA bends the rules to advantage CAFOs and other large scale producers, thereby lowering organic integrity. (Organic Program Dismisses Legal Complaints Targeting Factor Forms Without Investigating) Honest organic family farmers - following authentic organic practices - are hurt as consumers come to distrust the concept of organic. The four criteria we look to in our family are: organic, family-scale, local and transparent. All four are important. And all four meet the expectation of organic consumers, who are both intelligent and not chained to vacuous "organic."


Honest Alternative.

Dear WPF.

    So now we would have yet another way (U.S Approves SunOpta System for Detecting Genetically Modified Crops) of supposedly identifying food that does not contain GMO ingredients on top of the 'USDA Organic' and 'Non-GMO Project Verified' labels?

Wilton NH

WPF Replies.

     Sadly, this is a clear political ploy designed to do an end run around the peoples' interest and demand for Right-to-Know mandatory GMO labeling. Voluntary does NOT work. Can you imagine a voluntary income tax achieving success? 


 Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (800)829-9765 Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm