Thursday June 20, 2013
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Done. Shifting Gears.
The Morning After. We
got done planting potatoes by dark the night before. Come morning our
son, Caleb (blue shirt, no hat) - and good friends Justin, Devon and
Zach - were up early and loading the last of the camping gear, canoes
and kayaks onto two pickup trucks. In a long planned trip,
the boys were headed for a week's camping at Deboullie Pond in Township
15, Range 9, towards the Allagash and halfway to Quebec in the North
Maine Woods, northwest
of Portage. The lakeside campsite will be breezy and that will help
keep down the Black Flys (wryly known up here as the Maine State Bird)
which otherwise are at their peak this time of year.
Our eight days of potato planting
dragged out to
a full four wet weeks that brought us a total of ten inches rain and
muddy fields galore. Neighboring New Brunswick Canada has replanted
3000 acres of drowned out potatoes. Now with planting done, we're
shifting to getting
the crops and weeds under control. Planting now behind us. It's good to
be done, that's for sure. (Click on photo to enlarge)
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
| Thundering Support
For Maine's GMO Label Bill.
The culmination of a six month massive statewide
grassroots effort came to fruition last week in the State Capitol in
Augusta. And it was a landslide. Maine’s law-making system is a very
modestly compensated part-time citizen legislature. By most
reports, Maine’s GMO label bill has been THE single most talked about
piece of legislation in the Maine Legislature this year. The
people spoke and Maine’s Legislature listened.
On Tuesday, June 11, Maine’s strong Right-to-Know GMO Label bill, known
as LD 718, was debated before the Maine House. The debate
its zenith with the oratory of primary sponsor, Rep. Lance Harvell
(R-Farmington), the well-read Tea Party Republican, paper mill worker,
organic gardener and horse logger. You will not want to miss
Harvell’s floor speech on You Tube (7:41). After
close of debate, the
House voted 141-4 in favor of LD 718.
On the next day, Wednesday, the Maine Senate took up the
version of the bill and conducted its debate on whether GMO labeling
was a good idea for Maine people. Next, the Senate voted, unanimously
35-0, in favor of Maine’s GMO label bill.
Soon the bill will be in front of Governor Paul
hope Gov LePage will agree with the clear will of Maine’s people and
sign LD 718 into law.
you are a Mainer, it would be a good for you to call Gov. LePage’s
office (207-287-3531) now and let him know you support LD 718 and urge
him to sign. You may also email your thoughts to Gov LePage at
Thanks for your help.
Jim & Megan
Click here for our Non-GE Wood
prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed.
each Maine Senator's name on the board (behind Senate President Justin
Alfond) is a red light and a green light. There were no red lights
anywhere to be seen. Without exception, every one of the 35 members of
the Senate voted in favor of GMO Labeling for Maine.
Farmers again denied access to the courts.
| Court of Appeals
Ruling Gives Farmers Partial Victory.
panel at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently ruled
a group of organic and otherwise non-GMO farmer and seed company
plaintiffs are not entitled to bring a lawsuit to protect themselves
from Monsanto's transgenic seed patents "because Monsanto has made
binding assurances that it will not 'take legal action against growers
whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech
genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen blew onto
the grower’s land).'"
In the ruling
in the case Organic
Seed Growers and Trade
Association et al. v. Monsanto, the Court of Appeals
the Southern District of New York's previous decision that the
plaintiffs did not present a sufficient controversy to warrant
adjudication by the courts. However, it did so only because Monsanto
made repeated commitments during the lawsuit to not sue farmers with
“trace amounts” of contamination of crops containing their patented
Plaintiffs' attorney, Dan Ravicher of the Public
Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), views the decision as a partial
“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,” said Ravicher. “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
The plaintiff farmers and seed companies began
their legal battle in March of 2011, when they filed a complaint
against agricultural giant Monsanto asking for a declaration that
Monsanto's patents on genetically engineered seed were invalid or
unenforceable. The plaintiffs were compelled to file the suit
because Monsanto's patented seed can contaminate neighboring fields
through various means including wind and insects, and the owners of
those fields, such as plaintiffs, can then be sued by Monsanto for
The Organic Seed plaintiffs’ complaint
detailed Monsanto's abusive business and litigation tactics that have
put several farmers and independent seed companies out of business.
They also detailed Monsanto’s history of ruthless patent enforcement,
going so far as investigating as many as 500 farmers each year for
patent infringement by trespassing onto their land. The plaintiffs
further detailed the harms caused to society by Monsanto's GE seed,
including the proliferation of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” and
environmental pollution. The plaintiffs set forth in their legal
filings how the patents were legally deficient in several ways
including that the covered technology has no beneficial social use and
that the dozens of patents issued to Monsanto have illegally extended
and entrenched its monopoly.
“Even though we’re disappointed with the Court's
ruling not to hear our case, we’re encouraged by the court’s
determination that Monsanto does not have the right to sue farmers for
trace contamination," said Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen of Wood Prairie Farm,
president of lead plaintiff Organic
Seed Growers and Trade Association. "However, the
farmers went to court seeking justice not only about contamination, but
also the larger question of the validity of Monsanto’s patents. Justice
has not been served."
While the court is relying on Monsanto’s promise
not to sue farmers for unintentional contamination, a growing number of
America’s farmers and consumers are concerned about genetic
contamination of our food supply by Monsanto’s transgenic crops. While
this lawsuit seeks to protect contaminated farmers from being accused
of infringing Monsanto's patents, the decision today allows farmers who
are contaminated to sue Monsanto and Monsanto's customers for the harm
caused by that contamination without fear of a retaliation patent
infringement claim against them by Monsanto.
“Today’s ruling may give farmers a toehold in
courts regarding the unwanted contamination of their crops, but it does
not protect our food supply from the continued proliferation of
Monsanto’s flawed technology,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive
director of Food Democracy Now!, a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit. “The
real threat of continued contamination of our nation’s food supply was
only highlighted last week when Monsanto’s unapproved GMO wheat was
discovered in an Oregon farmer’s field more than 10 years after it was
legally planted in that state,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive
director of Food
The discovery of GMO contamination sent shockwaves
through the Western wheat growers community and resulted in Japan and
South Korea temporarily halting the acceptance of American wheat
Despite the Court of Appeals' Decision the
plaintiffs still have the right to ask the Supreme Court to review the
Court of Appeals decision and ultimately reinstate the case. Ravicher
said the Organic Seed plaintiffs are considering doing so.
Wendell Berry on Nature.
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all
our deals and decisions, and she has more votes and a longer memory,
and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”
Farmer Wendell Berry. Wendell pays attention to Nature.
We pay attention to Wendell.
Swiss Chard. Photo by Angela
Potatoes with Swiss Chard
medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
lbs Swiss chard
cloves garlic, peeled and minced
c extra-virgin olive oil
and freshly ground black pepper
the chard by trimming ends from stems. Cut into 1/2-inch lengths. Wash
the leaf and stem pieces thoroughly, then drain well. Bring salted
water to boil in a large pot. Add the potatoes and cook 15-20 minutes,
until tender. Add the Swiss chard for the last 5 minutes. Drain. Heat 2
T olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook garlic for 30
seconds. Add potatoes and chard and season them lightly with salt and
pepper. Cook, stirring and mashing the potatoes, until liquid is
evaporated and potatoes are coarsely mashed. Add the
remaining 2 T olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve
| Special Offer:
Last Chance For Our Organc Seed Potatoes & FREE Organic Buckwheat
Cover Crop Seed.
We just got done planting last
weekend. Like always, we will be taking orders and shipping
until the week of the 4th of July. So you still have time to
order and get in a late Spring crop of spuds. We’ll start up shipping
seed potatoes once again with the new Harvest beginning in September
and then ship steady until the next 4th of July.
One of the first jobs after potato planting is to plow next
year’s potato ground and then immediately disc and plant it to a plow
crop of Buckwheat. Buckwheat
does a great job of smothering weeds, mellowing the ground and bringing
up Phosphorus from deep down in the soil, making that Phosphorus
available for succeeding crops like potatoes. Buckwheat is lush and
fast growing and does well on marginal land. We mow Buckwheat
first bloom (7-8 weeks after planting) and then incorporate the biomass
by plowing it in. Young Buckwheat plants are a tasty substitute for
spinach in your kitchen.
Now here's your chance to earn
2 ½ lbs. sack
of our Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed (Value $9.95) –
Enough to Plant Over 500 square Feet - when your next order totals $45
or more. FREE
Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed - offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday,
Jun 24, 2013, so you better hurry!
Please use Promo Code WPF1148.
Your order and FREE
Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed must ship by 7/1/13. Offer may
not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!
here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed Section.
Amy and Sarah
Gerritsen Boxing Up Orders. On Wood Prairie
Farm everyone has a job. (Click
on photo to enlarge)
Our Mailbox: Smart
Bags, Good Reason, Controlling Food Supplies, Lacking Logical Rigor.
Using Smart Bags.
I'm using the Smart Bags this year after rats dug
into my planter boxes last year and ate/destroyed my entire potato
crop. You can move the bags around to wherever is convenient which is
one of the many advantages of them.
The Smart Bags last many years and that helps
their cost of purchase. Potatoes are gluttons and they will reward you
with good yields if you lavish them with plenty of fertility and water.
As a rule, most people do not water their potato plant containers
sufficiently. Assuming one has good quality seed (and yes there is a
big difference is seed quality), along with insufficient fertility,
lack of adequate water is the biggest reason for disappointing
container gardening yields.
Good Reason To Be
I'm assuming you've seen this article in Bloomberg...I'm
Yes we were also disappointed with the US Court of
Appeals ruling. Please read our press
carefully. The ruling represents a partial victory. The court
essentially ruled that we farmers DID have standing to sue. However,
when the Appeals Court ordered that Monsanto is now legally bound by
the Court through estoppal to NOT sue farmers for 'trace'
contamination, that order ironically effectively removed the court's
percieved basis for our standing. So, we gained protection for
US farmers (and NOT just those in the Plaintiff group) but we did not
gain the right to challenge the validity of the GE seed patents. And
yes we do have the option of appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It is so worrying and dangerous that transnational
companies for the first time in history are controlling the world's
food supplies and people do not realize how dangerous this is. In Chile
I visit pensioners who have low working class pensions and they managed
to survive well because they have vegetable plots and they keep the
seeds and exchange seed with their neighbors. Will these people be
able to buy seeds every year if Monsanto continues its
efforts of natural seed extermination?
am president of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. Our
organization considers it essential that we work to protect the
peoples' right of access to good clean seed. We know that it was our
ancestors who through many many generations of hard work, breeding and
selection, transformed wild grasses into the food crops the world today
relies upon for its survival. We encourage everyone to commit
themselves to resisting the pirated theft by corporations of the
people's inviolate right to the seed our forebears created.
Lack of Logical
The first thing that stood out when Dr.
Seralini first published,
was emulation of the Monsanto study. GMO utopians are not
for logical rigor and proceeded to trash the same methodology they'd
previously accepted so enthusiastically. Seralini himself noted that
the experiment his team conducted was by no means the last word, but at
this point I think it's reasonable to conclude that the preponderance
of research in the field says everything necessary.
Biotech's inherent frustration in battling Dr.
study is that his research is honest and truthful. Biotech has a big
insurmountable problem arguing against truth. The only tools available
to them are lies and character assassination. Independent thinking
people are able to see through Biotech's self-serving charade. In fact,
what we are now witnessing is what I believe the beginning of the end
Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm