Friday May 30, 2014
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Our main farm tractor is a 92 HP
1967 Oliver 1850 Diesel with a super slow creeper gear. Above
is how it
looks today, amidst Spring planting, hooked up to our two-row tuber
unit potato planter.
is how the
‘tractor’ looked in our shop just about a month ago. It had
been torn down to the barest frame to get at the transmission fifth
gear which had seized on the pinion shaft.
Everything in its time. It
took most of the Winter to get our 2013-harvested seed potato crop
graded out and shipped. As the dust began to settle in April,
our diesel mechanic son, Caleb, tore the 1850 down, ordered new parts
and put it all back together. More or less, right on schedule.
Now after another slow, cold and wet
Maine Spring, the ground has warmed and dried to the point where we are
in the potato planting business.
We hope you are on high ground and your
Spring is going well, too.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
| Landmark Election:
Two Oregon Counties Vote Overwhelmingly to Ban GE Crops.
In a major victory and stunning repudiation of a high
finance out-of-state Biotech misinformation campaign designed to buy
favorable election results, voters in two southern Oregon counties have
decided to protect family farmers by banning the planting and
cultivation of GE crops in their locales. These two landmark
elections were the subject of an article in the last issue of the Wood
Prairie Seed Piece.
The two Rogue River counties – Jackson and
Josephine - comprise a major world class seed growing region.
Organic and non GE seed family farmers sought protection from unwanted
GE contamination which originates in fields planted with patented GE
seed owned by Biotech corporations.
The two Oregon election races had been
closely watched all across the nation. Local family farmers
growing organic and non-GE crops – exasperated at the arrogance and
recalcitrance of multi-national Biotech seed corporations who turned a
deaf ear to complaints about their irresponsible contamination – went
directly to voters seeking protection by creating outright bans of the
polluting crops. Among the leaders of the diverse movement
were organic farmers and members of the national trade group, Organic
Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA).
Jackson County’s right to ban GE crops had been
clearly decided last year by the Oregon legislature when its
prohibition ability was provided grandfathering status in a legally
questionable bill pushed by Biotech which removed local control from
counties. Neighboring Josephine County, after having passed
its own GE crop ban, must now undergo Court review before its law may
Meanwhile, malevolent Biotech bullies – chaffing
at their loss by a democratic vote - are threatening legal action to
overturn the will of the people. GE
Ban supporters are ready and remain confident the language of their law
will stand up to legal scrutiny.
Out-of-state Biotech and industrial ag corporations had poured nearly
$1 million into Jackson County alone in a massive TV ad and robo call
misinformation campaign aimed at scaring and confusing voters. Jackson
County has just 117,650 registered voters. The landslide Jackson County
vote was 66% Yes; 34% No. Josephine County supported their
ban with a strong vote of 58% Yes and 42% No.
Here for More Information on the Battle Against GE Crops.
and Josephine Counties Take Charge.
Citizens in both counties vote to protect family farmers. (Artwork by
| Open Seed Source
Initiative Open for Business.
organic seed community has now released its revolutionary Open Source
Seed system designed to circumvent patents on seed. The fruits of the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI)
were unveiled last month in a ceremony at University of Wisconsin,
The Open Seed Source Initiative Pledge
is honest, straightforward and disarmingly simple.
The OSSI was a multi-year collaborative
effort of many individuals involved in organic and traditional seed
breeding including past OSGATA President Frank Morton of Wild Garden
Seed, Dr Jim Myers of OSU Corvallis, and Dr Bill Tracy, Dr Irwin Golman
and Dr Jack Kloppenburg, all of UW
This Open Source Seed
pledge is intended to
ensure your freedom to use the seed contained herein in any way you
to make sure those freedoms are enjoyed by all subsequent users. By
this packet, you pledge that you will not restrict others’ use of these
and their derivatives by patents, licenses, or any other means. You
if you transfer these seeds or their derivatives they will also be
by this pledge.
Master writer Lisa
Hamilton has crafted Linux
for Lettuce, the definitive article about OSSI’s
determined mission to protect seed in the
Commons and re-institute collaboration among seed breeders. This work
is a must read article for all
gardeners, farmers and Americans.
From Hamilton’s article, Linux for
“Most classical plant breeders will tell you that their work is
inherently collaborative—the more people involved, the better...Myers
contends that, when applied to plants, patents are stifling. They
discourage sharing, and sharing is the foundation of successful
breeding. That’s because his work is essentially just assisting natural
evolution...'It’s this collective sharing of material that improves the
whole crop over time,' Myers told me. 'If you’re not exchanging
germplasm, you’re cutting your own throat.'"
In celebration of the OSSI
collection of 15 packets of OSSI varieties is being offered to the
public for a donation of $25. Already
over 300 people have responded to this unique offer.
Lisa Hamilton should be a name familiar
to all. She is author of the highly acclaimed book, 'Deeply
Rooted' which examines the lives of three
multi-generational cutting edge sustainable farms in North Dakota, New
Mexico and Texas. The family farm highlighted
from North Dakota are our friend’s, the organic seed growing Podoll’s,
from whom we get our Sweet Dakota Bliss Beet and Uncle David’s Dakota
Dessert Squash certified organic seed.
Jim & Megan
Here for Wood Prairie Farm Certified Organic Vegetable Seed.
| Organic Farmer
Steve Marsh Denied Justice by Australian Court.
Steve Marsh is the courageous organic farmer near
Kojonup in Western Australia who in 2010 had his farm contaminated by
Monsanto’s genetically engineered canola. As a result of the
GE contamination incident, organic certification was revoked from 70%
of Steve’s farm, extinguishing the marketability of his organic crops
and placing his family farm at great risk of bankruptcy. Steve decided
to fight back.
Steve’s lawsuit to recover damages has been a case
monitored internationally. The verdict handed down
this week denies Steve the justice he sought: reimbursement for
monetary damages and a permanent injunction to prevent future damage
from GE pollution.
The court failed to recognize the decertification
decision of organic certifier NASAA, and therefore ignored the extreme
financial loss experienced by Steve and his wife, Susan. The
unwanted GE contamination, from a GE Canola crop owned by Monsanto and
farmed by his neighbor, Michael Baxter, represented an unrestrained
nuisance and negligent behavior which caused damage to the farmers and
prevented full use of their farm.
The Marshs were forced to seek damages from
neighbor Baxter because carefully crafted Monsanto Licensing Agreements
absolve the notorious multinational Biotech corporation from legal
liability and instead shifts all responsibility for their faulty
product to Monsanto's farmer-customers. The result of this denial of
justice is that the Marshs face an uncertain future and their ability
to continue organic farming lies in jeopardy. Details and analysis of
the ruling may be found in articles from Reuters
Steve's fight had loomed large as a battle on
behalf of organic farmers everywhere facing contamination threats by
Biotech crops. This ruling represents another significant blow to
organic and non-GE farmers who in recent years have been seeking
judicial recognition of their right-to-farm free of trespass and
invasion by unwanted GE crops. It is widely believed by
supporters of the Marshs that Monsanto served as proxy and financed the
legal defense for Mr. Baxter.
The Marshs and their lawyers have 21
days in which to file an Appeal. Find the link to the
six-page Judgment Summary here.
150 page ruling itself may be found here.
We remain in contact with Marsh supporters in
friends at the Safe Food Foundation in Australia have established a
fund to help the Marshs
cope with this
contamination event and to help them maintain the ability to continue
farming. Please contribute if you can.
Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Certified Organic NonGE Cover Crop
Marsh Battles Monsanto. Power and money trump justice.
| Notable Quotes:
JFK on Revolution.
From the Garden.
by Angela Wotton
Olive Oil Braised Spring Vegetables
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb baby carrots,
cut into bite-friendly segments
1/4 lb baby potatoes,
cut into bite-friendly segments
2 baby fennel, trimmed and quartered
1/4 tsp fine grain sea
6 small spring onions
(or scallions), trimmed
1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into segments
1 lemon, cut into small wedges, deseeded
Add the olive oil to a large skillet over med-low heat. The pan needs
to be hot enough to cook the vegetables, but not hot enough to brown
them. Add carrots, potatoes, fennel, and salt to the pan and allow to
cook for a few minutes. Add the onions, then cover and cook for another
10-15 minutes, until vegetables are just cooked through. A minute
before the carrots and potatoes are cooked, add the asparagus and a few
of the lemon wedges to the pan. Cook just until it brightens, and is
Remove from heat and sprinkle with thyme
and serve with remaining lemon wedges. The vegetables are good hot or
at room temperature.
| Special Offer: FREE Sack of
Organic Seed Potatoes.
In most of the North there is still plenty of time to plant Organic
Certified Seed Potatoes. And we still
have good supplies of many excellent varieties. Even if you
have already planted your main potato crop, you may have a garden patch
leftover. This could be a great location for planting extra
potatoes to store up for your family’s use next winter or to sell at
the local farmer’s market.
Here's your chance to earn yourself a FREE 2.5
lbs. Sack of Organic
Certified Seed Potatoes (Value $16.95) when the amount of
goods in your next order is $45 or more. FREE Organic
Certified Seed Potatoes offer ends Midnight Monday, June
2, 2014, so better hurry!
Please use Promo
Code WPF1178. Your order must ship with FREE Organic Certified Seed
Potatoes and entire order must ship by 6/13/14. This offer may not be
combined with other offers. Please call or click
Prairie Farm (800) 829-9765.
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Certified Seed Potato Section.
FREE Organic Seed Potatoes.
There's still time to plant!
Heirloom Chippewa, Serious But Not Lost, Not Early Blight.
What do you know about Chippewa
potatoes? A farmer friend raves about them but hasn't been able to find
Thanks for any info.
Chippewa is an heirloom round white potato variety
released by USDA in 1933. It's early and high yielding. Tubers are
oblong and low in solids ('low gravity'). It used to be a commercial
variety grown in the Northeast and is known to do well on muck soils.
It hasn't been grown as Certified Seed in Maine for many years. If you
check with NY State seed certification officials you may get lucky and
be able to locate some certified seed from your neighbors in the Empire
link has a photo purported to be some Chippewas. Jim.
Serious But Not
I am interested in buying
several varieties of your potatoes for growing. I am currently
looking for acres of land to grow my crops on; however, I am finding it
difficult to locate an area far enough away from GM crops! As you know,
GM crops can blow onto other farmers' fields causing cross-pollination
and GMO infection of once organic crops.
Your answer would be most appreciated
and very valuable to me! It is increasingly difficult to find ANY farm
that sells certified organic, non-GMO seeds and products in general!
Fountain City WI
First, potatoes are vegetatively propagated from
grown seed tubers (small-sized potatoes) certified for freedom of
disease content. While genetically engineered crops are grown on tens
of millions of acres, the risk from contamination at this point are
still limited to a handful of botanical families The situation is
serious but is not lost. Here is a list
of current GE crops 'approved' for growing by farmers in the US:
vulgaris: sugar beet, table beet, swiss chard
pepo: summer squash/zucchini, acorn squash, spaghetti
squash, striped/warty gourds
napus: canola, rutabega, siberian kale
Monsanto's New Leaf GE potatoes were
voluntarily removed from the US market over ten years ago. Even if
there were GE potatoes being grown today because of their vegetative
propagation, potatoes would not be subject to contamination by pollen
Oats and wheat are just two of
many crops which have not had a GE version approved for farmers to
grow. There are many more.
Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) is the organic seed
industry trade organization and I am OSGATA president. Here is the
pertinent OSGATA's policy:
Policy on Genetically Engineered (GE) Seed
of organic seed by genetically engineered (GE) seed - commonly referred
to as GMOs - constitutes irreparable harm to the organic seed industry
and undermines the integrity of organic seed. Any detectable level is
Wood Prairie Farm adheres strictly to this excellent policy and does
not sell any seed with detectible GE content.
Do check with each seed company you
contemplate purchasing from as to their adoption of this Policy and
their specific protocol for testing for GE content of at-risk varieties.
Here is a
link of OSGATA member-companies: http://www.osgata.org/members/
Not Early Blight.
Jim - I know how busy you are, and I hate to
bother you with a question, but I thought you'd be the best source of
info on this. I found diseased leaves on two tomato plants today. They
look similar to various fungal diseases that we get on tomatoes around
here, but I wouldn't have expected anything like this now, as
conditions haven't been good for disease development. I'm scrupulous
about crop rotation, and of course I have your excellent certified seed
potatoes. So this really baffles me. I also found a couple of plants in
another bed (not close to the one with the diseased leaves) that are
wilty with yellowing on lower leaves. Here are pictures so you can see
what I'm talking about. I will really appreciate it if you can help me
diagnose the problem so that I can know what course of action to take.
I'm pretty sure that it's early blight / alternaria, but please correct
me if I'm wrong. I've had it on tomatoes but never on potatoes, so I
didn't expect it.
Early blight on potatoes does not look like the problem in
your photo. EB on potatoes is distinctive and seen as brown
discoloration in concentric
circles (bulls eye) usually beginning towards the center
of the leaf, not the edge. Early blight in potatoes is opportunistic
and occurs when potatoes are under stress. Twenty years ago we would
sometimes get EB on late season potatoes in early August when the plant
ran out of fertility. Since we've increased fertility with fish meal
we've never had EB. Bottom line is I suggest you take samples of
troubled tomato leaves to your Cooperative Extension service for
identification. Then you will know what you are dealing with.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm