Issue of The Seed Piece:
BREAKING NEWS! Appeal Filed Against
Indiegogo Awards Wood Prairie Farm Top
Maine Farmers Exchange.
Maine Hosts Denmark. Monday morning, thirty-five organic farmers
and researchers from Denmark
toured Wood Prairie Farm. It was their
first stop on a northeastern tour of organic farms and
research facilities in Maine, Vermont and Quebec. Here, Jim
Gerritsen provides details to the Danes
on the organic production practices of Wood Prairie Farm.
The tour was
set up as an exchange by Dr. Ellen Mallory, Sustainable
Ag Specialist, University
of Maine Cooperative Extension Service.
In the Fall of 2010, Dr Mallory organized a tour of Danish organic
milling operations as part of the USDA-funded Northern
Organic Bread Wheat project. To
watch a short video of the
visit to Wood Prairie Farm please click here.
NEWS! Organic Farmers File Appeal Against Monsanto!
July 5, 2012 – Seventy-five family farmers, seed businesses, and
agricultural organizations representing over 300,000 individuals and
4,500 farms filed a brief
today with the United States Court
of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C. asking the
court to reverse a lower court's decision from February dismissing
their protective legal action against agricultural giant Monsanto’s
patents on genetically engineered seed.
plaintiffs brought the pre-emptive case against Monsanto in March
2011 in the Southern District of New York and specifically seek to
defend themselves from nearly two dozen of Monsanto's most
aggressively asserted patents on GMO seed. They were forced to act
pre-emptively to protect themselves from Monsanto’s abusive
lawsuits, fearing that if GMO seed contaminates their property
despite their efforts to prevent such contamination, Monsanto will
sue them for patent infringement.
time to end Monsanto’s scorched earth legal campaign of threats and
intimidation against America’s farmers. Family farmers should be
protected by the courts against the unwanted genetic contamination of
their crops,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a
grassroots community of more than 300,000
farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming food and agriculture,
that is co-plaintiff in the suit.
The people are behind Family Farmers versus Monsanto.
have a right to farm the way we choose,” said Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen,
President of lead
plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and
Trade Association (OSGATA). “Yet
Monsanto is unwilling to control their GMO pollution and they refuse
to sign a binding covenant not-to-sue our family farmers for patent
infringement should their seed contaminate
our crops. Monsanto’s publicized ‘Commitment’ promising that
they would not sue farmers was described
by Monsanto’s own lawyers
as being ‘vague.’ The law says we deserve protection under the
Declaratory Judgment Act. We will continue to pursue our right to
farm, and the right of our customers to have access to good clean
food and seed.”
an attempt to sidestep the challenge, Monsanto moved to have the case
dismissed, saying that the plaintiffs' concerns were unrealistic. In
February 2012, the district court took Monsanto's side and dismissed
the case, ridiculing the farmers in the process. Despite the fact
that the plaintiffs are at risk for being contaminated by genetically
modified seed and then sued for patent infringement by Monsanto,
Judge Naomi Buchwald of the Southern District of New York dismissed
the case because she didn't find a case worthy of adjudication,
saying “it is clear that these circumstances do not amount to a
substantial controversy and that there has been no injury traceable
year Monsanto investigates over 500 farmers for patent infringement
with their now notorious “seed police”. To date, 144 farmers have
had lawsuits brought against them by Monsanto without a binding
contract with the multinational corporation, while another 700
farmers have been forced to settle out of court for undisclosed sums.
is known for bullying farmers by making baseless accusations of
patent infringement,” said attorney Dan Ravicher of the
not-for-profit legal services organization Public Patent Foundation
(PUBPAT), which represents the plaintiffs in the suit against
Monsanto known as Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et
al. v Monsanto. “They've sued and harassed many other
farmers who wanted nothing to do with their genetically modified seed
and now that organic and conventional farmers are fighting back, they
claim they would never do such a thing without backing up their words
with an enforceable promise.”
determined that seed and pollen can drift great distances, in some
cases as far as 10-15 miles, increasing the likelihood of
contamination of organic crops with genetics from Monsanto’s
laboratories. These seeds and crops are referred to as “transgenic”
seed that has had DNA of foreign organisms inserted into its DNA
through human engineered processes. Plaintiffs use and sell
nontransgenic seed, more commonly referred to as heirloom,
organic, or conventional seed.
have simply stopped growing certain types of crops due to the threat
of contamination. Bryce Stephens, a certified organic farmer from
northwest Kansas, had to give up on trying to grow organic corn and
soy once his neighbors started using Monsanto's genetically modified
seed because it could easily spread onto his property and contaminate
his organic crops, which would put him at risk of being sued for
patent infringement by Monsanto.
the brief filed today, the plaintiffs point out numerous errors in
the district court decision that warrant reversal.
went on to state, “No company should be allowed to violate the
property rights of America’s farmers or threaten their livelihoods
through the use of frivolous patent infringement lawsuits designed to
control farmers and the food supply, while protecting Monsanto’s
flawed seed technology and corporate profits.”
The brief filed by the plaintiffs with the Court of Appeals
Awards Wood Prairie Farm Top Honor.
Organic Seed Equipment Repair Shop
Project Posted at
Top of Crowdfunding Giant's Homepage
world's leading crowdfunding platform, announced this week that Maine's Wood
Farm Organic Seed Equipment Repair Shop project had been selected as
eight projects worldwide featured on the Indiegogo homepage.
Two weeks ago, Jim & Megan Gerritsen co-owners of Wood Prairie
their Organic Seed Equipment Repair Shop Project
popular Indiegogo website. Off to a strong start, they have
$9000 towards their ultimate goal of $32,000 - which will pay for the
materials for a 30' x 70' metal and concrete on-farm repair shop needed
maintain and fabricate their vintage organic seed farm equipment. The Gerritsens are requesting help from the
public to meet their funding goal for the project.
are thrilled by this incredible recognition," said Megan Gerritsen,
co-owner of the 36-year-old organic Wood Prairie Farm in Northern Maine. "Out of thousands of
Indiegogo decided that the quality of our project and the content
our supporters deserved to be highlighted at the top of their company
Homepage. This is a big honor and it will bring in significant
from the Indiegogo funding community. We are already seeing that this
recognition is having a big impact on our small family farm's ability
successfully raise the needed funds for our Shop. We need this
that our boys, Peter and Caleb, will have a safe and dry place to keep
specialized organic farm equipment repaired.
is a web-based community funding model that serves as an approachable
incubator for individuals and small businesses who have a good idea and
help from their community to fund it. Financial support is provided by
supporters from the public and 'perks' or rewards are offered in
Gerritsens are active members in the organic community and have donated
thousands of hours in behalf of good food and organic farming over the
three decades. Jim is President of the national trade group,
Growers and Trade Association, lead plaintiff in the organic community
OSGATA et al v. Monsanto, which is challenging the validity of
Clark Philips Organic Pioneer
The world lost a unique and
tireless worker for good with the passing of pioneer organic farmer and
steward Clark Phillips last week. By putting community ahead of self, Clark became a mentor for many of us, combining
nearly 50 years of organic farming and
social activism in behalf
of rural producers in the Maritimes of Canada.
Megan's and my involvement with
Clark, and his partner, Sue, began 26 years ago when along with others
founded a local chapter of Organic Crop Improvement Assn. Their farm
class large sustainably managed woodlot had recently transitioned to
stewardship by Community Forests International. Whaelghinbran Farm is
continuing as a productive organic farm with the help of CFI personnel
interns under the active guidance of Clark and Sue.
A celebration of Clark's
life will be held at the farm on July 15 in the
form of an informal memorial service and potluck. Here
is a MUST view vimeo
video (7:28) which provides a glimpse into Clark and Sue's vision
with the land and proof that sustainability not only works but is far
to land management based on exploitation. Don't miss it! Jim.
|Our Mailbox: Hoppers, Awareness & Taters.
Hoppers in Wyoming.
Wood Prairie folks,
Do you guys have any advice for protecting
plants (especially potatoes) from
grasshopper infestation? Last year they destroyed most of the
including what started out to be a fantastic potato crop. This
to be even worse and is hopefully the peak of the cycle.
I began using nolo bait last year after it was
too late (many were already
adults). Diatomaceous earth is impractical when you water
frequently. This year I started early with nolo bait, when the
were first instar. It has clearly helped but I'm hoping you have
advice for additional control. I just ordered my third 25 pound
bag. (Of course, the county weed and pest guys urge everyone to
carbaryl. Not happening.)
If you're unfamiliar with nolo bait, the information is here: https://www.goodbug.com/nolobait.html
We have no problem with
grasshoppers out here so our knowledge is scant. We have heard of
spores. By googling 'organic grasshopper control' Arbico came up
first. We buy ladybugs and beneficial nematodes from them.
a competing product in a 50 lbs bag.
And there is an article from The
Mother Earth News.
One idea is vacuuming grasshoppers with a
shop vac. Good luck.
Awareness of Monsanto.
Jim and family,
Thanks for friending me on Facebook. I love
Prairie Farm and have bought seed
potatoes from you for severals years now and always love the quality.
Thanks also for being such an advocate for
organic farmers and your work for awareness
of Monsanto. I've been an organic gardener for 25 years and believe
taking care of our beautiful earth. I became aware of Monsanto through
subscription to Organic Gardening magazine and have read many articles
years that are very concerning. It is really scary to read stories of
they've gone after even the smallest farms or for people just saving
I come from Northern Missouri, close to the Iowa where there is nothing but
farmland. Over the years I've seen family after family lose their farms
way of life that they had always known.
While I am no expert at all, it does sadden me to see a company that is
controlling, all because of what seems to be greed. I don't understand
like this at all. So many people are hurting and starving. The world
such a better place and instead of moving forward and helping others,
to be going backwards.
I posted the same post with the Stop Monsanto film project and it
debate in support of Monsanto letting them spray their corn once
three times.They thought there were much more dangerous chemicals?
While it was
not my objective to start a debate, just an awareness,I feel so many
uninformed. It is something I've become very passionate about. I'm
very quiet person. I did take off the post because there are so many
where I grew up that farming gmo corn is the way of life for them.
Also, if you go to the state fair, there are
Monsanto signs everywhere, the
farmers really believe they are wonderful.
MU is a big Agricultual Univ in MO and I think they get misinformation
With children with so many allergies and
asthma, possibly autism. It seems some people are not aware and some
paying attention. Our hands seem to be tied with the Government
Monsanto. In Missouri Roy Blunt, our senator will always vote against
because his son owns a big Ethanol plant. It's really sad to see people
senate that are so out of touch with nature, or "real life" to even
begin to see how out of controling this is.
Hopefully, by making people aware and
educating them about Monsanto, we can
make a difference. Thank you so much for all of your dedication to this
I have gardened with my children since they
were babies. My daughter planted
with me 100's of blueberries,raspberries,blackberries. We planted 60
trees,started bluebird trails and had our acreage certified as a
habitat as well as a Monarch landing station. We are a very close
love being together in nature and outdoors.
I look forward to helping in any way I can.
World Wide Web
Kelly. We really
appreciate your support. The research over the problems with Roundup
and the country will be shocked when the information is released.
Taters in South Carolina.
to live in southern France
where I had great success
using seed potatoes. I now line in Charleston, SC
and wonder which potatoes grow
best in my region and when I should plant. I've read great things about
folks and would want to order my seed potatoes form you!
Potatoes planted in your
part of coastal South
with the greatest likelihood of success would be short and midseason
varieties planted early in the Spring - say late January/early
varieties include Reddale, Prairie Blush, Caribe', Yukon Gold and Rose
Apple Fingerling. The combo of short varieties planted early will allow
cool season potatoes to complete their tuber sizing by the time your
weather arrives. Thanks for your support.
Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm