Wood Prairie Farm                         In This Issue of The Seed Piece: 
 Seed Piece Newsletter              BREAKING NEWS! Allies Join OSGATA et al v. Monsanto Challenge.
      Organic News and Commentary
                            Making Progress on Indiegogo.
            Wednesday July 18, 2012                                   Recipe: Rhubarb Ginger Oat Squares.
                                                                                                         Special Offer: FREE Organic Vegetable Seed.
                                                                                                         Mailbox: Fall Taters, Engagement, Justice and Greed.

    Midway in Summer, Midway on Indiegogo.
Working and Playing on Wood Prairie Farm. Short video message (0:52) from our our daughters Sarah & Amy who explain why completion of our Indiegogo on-farm Equipment Repair Shop project is so important to them. We're now into the last weeks of our fundraising campaign and we really need your contribution of $10, $25 - or whatever you can afford.  Thanks for your support of everything we do at Wood Prairie Farm! And Enjoy the Summer!  Jim & Megan

BREAKING NEWS! Prominent Allies Join Effort to Reinstate OSGATA et al v. Monsanto Challenge.

Washington, D.C. – July 17, 2012 – Eleven prominent law professors and fourteen renowned organic, Biodynamic®, food safety and consumer non-profit organizations have filed separate briefs with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit arguing farmers have the right to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement by agricultural giant Monsanto. The brief by the law professors and the brief by the non-profit organizations were filed in support of the seventy-five family farmers, seed businesses, and agricultural organizations representing over 300,000 individuals and 4,500 farms that last year brought a protective legal action seeking a ruling that Monsanto could never sue them for patent infringement if they became contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified seed. The case was dismissed by the district court in February and that dismissal is now pending review by the Court of Appeals. The Plaintiffs recently filed their opening appeal brief with the appeals court.

“Monsanto continues to claim that Plaintiffs' concerns about being accused of patent infringement after being contaminated by Monsanto's transgenic seed are unsubstantiated and unjustified,” 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. “But now two impeccable groups have joined with Plaintiffs in explaining to the Court of Appeals how real and legitimate their concerns really are, especially since Monsanto continues to refuse to simply promise never to sue contaminated farmers for patent infringement.”

The first group filing a brief in support of the OSGATA Plaintiffs includes eleven prominent law professors from throughout the United States, including Professor Margo Bagley of the University of Virginia School of Law, Professor Michael Burstein of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Professor Rochelle C. Dreyfuss of the New York University School of Law, Professor Brett Frischmann of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Professor Erika George of University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, Professor Shubha Ghosh of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Professor Megan M. La Belle of the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, Professor Kali Murray of Marquette University Law School, Professor Ted Sichelman of the University of San Diego School of Law, Katherine J. Strandburg of the New York University School of Law, and Melissa Wasserman of the University of Illinois College of Law.

In their amicus brief the law professors point out that, “broad standing to challenge the validity of patents ensures that the courts can effectively play their critical role in screening out invalid patents.” They add, “In actions challenging the validity of a patent, the alleged injury is not only the risk of an infringement suit, but a present restraint on economic activity due to the presence of a potentially invalid exclusive right.”  The law professors went on to note, “But the validity of issued patents is uncertain until they are tested in court.  This uncertainty creates real and present risks for persons wishing to engage in economic activity that might be the subject of an issued patent….When a person is deterred from undertaking valuable activity by the risk that the activity may encroach on another’s exclusive rights, that person has incurred an actual, concrete and particularized injury.”

“We are grateful for the brilliant and powerful amici briefs submitted to the appeals court by these two stellar groups, supporting our family farmers’ quest for justice,” said Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen of Wood Prairie Farm, President of lead Plaintiff, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.  “An erroneous interpretation of law by a single judge is not going to cause our farmers to abandon our rights to farm the way we choose, to grow good food and good seed for our families and for our customers, free from Monsanto’s trespass and contamination.  Denial of the property rights of American farmers is an attack on the property rights of every American. We will fight until family farmers receive justice.”

The second group filing a brief in support of the OSGATA Plaintiffs, made up of fourteen non-profit agricultural and consumer organizations, includes the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Food and Water Watch, International Organic Inspectors Association, Maine Alternative Agriculture Association, Michigan Land Trustees, Natural Environmental Ecological Management, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, Organic Consumers Association, Slow Food USA, Virginia Association for Biological Farming, Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association, and Wisconsin Natural Food Associates.

In their amicus brief, the non-profit agricultural and consumer organizations point out, “The Plaintiff and Amici organizations, farmers, and seed businesses have suffered significant harm due to the threat of patent infringement suits by Monsanto.”  They also noted, “Defendants have chosen to patent products that, by their very nature, will inevitably end up on the private property of people who have no desire to use them.  Plaintiffs’ uncontroverted allegations show that, for the first time in history, they can be sued for something as natural as pollen drift, while simultaneously being forced to take expensive and burdensome steps in order to continue their normal businesses.  The quandary of this type of liability is precisely the sort of situation that the Declaratory Judgment Act was intended to address.”  The amicus brief further explained, “The Supreme court has stated that the plaintiff “need not ‘bet the farm’” yet in this case, that is precisely what the district court effectively required Plaintiffs to do in order to get their day in court – continue farming the disputed crops until they are unquestionably liable to Defendants for potentially crippling levels of damage before being able to seek a declaratory judgment as to their rights…The district court noted that ‘unlicensed – and unintended – use of transgenic seeds is inevitable…’ but then failed to address the fact that such unlicensed use is actionable and places Plaintiffs at risk of enforcement actions by Defendants.”

 “It’s time to end Monsanto’s scorched-earth campaign of frivolous lawsuits against America’s family farmers,” 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.  “Monsanto’s claims against farmers for patent infringement are exceedingly weak, violating Americans’ most basic sense of fairness and decency. Our Founding Fathers would be outraged”, stated Murphy.


Caleb In the Rock Business. Watch the You Tube video (3:36) which shows how we created our own glacial moraine last week.

 Making Progress on Our Indiegogo
                   Farm Equipment Repair Shop Project.

     Thanks to your help, we’ve advanced to the $10,000 milestone in our Indiegogo project - building an on-farm Equipment Repair Shop so that our boys will have a dry and safe year round building in which to maintain and fabricate our specialized organic seed equipment. We’re funding our project – the purchase of building materials for the Shop - through the mechanism of internet crowdfunding.   Crowdfunding, of which Indiegogo is the world's leading platform, is a community-funded project incubator. It is a means by which a community comes together to support a worthy project.  Pledges are made by folks who want to see a project succeed.  Perks are offered to people who contribute at different levels of support.  Minimum amounts are indicated for each perk, but you may pledge more than the minimum if you desire.

     Last week we hauled about 350 cubic yards of stockpiled field stones and with them constructed the compacted level-base upon which the concrete slab will be poured.  Here’s a short You Tube video of the boys completing the necessary steps involved in that process.  They made use of the equipment we normally utilize for digging irrigation ponds, clearing fields and pushing back Wj ter snow banks.  Field rocks are a tried and true northern Maine technique for construction projects.  In addition to being more stable than bank run gravel, this rocky form of Yankee ingenuity saved us $3000 over having done the job with purchased and hauled-in gravel.

     While the Indiegogo platform is totally secure, some folks have indicated that they prefer to simply send us a check through the mail (please send to: Wood Prairie Farm, 49 Kinney Road, Bridgewater, Maine 04735). Checks are fine and we are grateful for your support in whatever form that works for you. Any contribution from you, large or small, is greatly appreciated.  Your continued support is essential to making our Repair Shop project successful.  Thanks very much!

And please, tell your friends!

Jim & Megan

Recipe: Rhubarb Ginger Oat Squares

2 c chopped rhubarb
3 thin slices of fresh ginger
1 c sugar
1 c water

Combine the rhubarb, fresh ginger, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the rhubarb has softened and is falling apart, about 15 minutes. Strain into a bowl pressing on the rhubarb and ginger to release the juices. Pour the strained rhubarb-ginger syrup into a bottle or jar and refrigerate. (Save the syrup and use as sauce over ice cream or mix with seltzer for a refreshing drink) Allow the rhubarb pulp to cool. Remove and discard the sliced ginger.

Preheat oven to 350 F

1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea salt
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 c light brown sugar
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Combine the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, brown sugar, walnuts, and butter in a bowl. Work with your fingers to a crumbly texture.

Butter a 9x9 square baking dish. Pour 3/4 of the oat mixture into the dish and press firmly to cover the bottom of the dish. Spread the rhubarb pulp over this and then top with the remaining 1/4 of the oat mixture.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool and then slice into squares.

Delicious summer treat.


                  Rhubarb Ginger Oat Squares. Wonderful summertime treat.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Vegetable Seed

If you take a look at the calendar, you will notice that August is just a short two weeks away.  So that means now is the time to be planning and planting those hardy crops like Organic Rainbow Chard, Organic Winter Bloomsdale Spinach and our Organic Lettuces  which will extend the fresh harvest well into the Fall.     

  And here's your chance to earn a FREE packet of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed – Your Choice of Varieties – for every 5 packets that you purchase. Order 10, get two FREE.  Order 20, Get Four FREE. FREE Organic Vegetable Seed offer ends Monday, July 23.

     Please use Promo Code WPF 1123.  FREE Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed Offer must ship by 7/27/12.  Offer may not be combined with other offers.  Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed Section

Our Mailbox: Fall Taters, Engagement, Justice and Greed.

Fall Crop Potatoes.

Dear WPF.
     I live in Virginia, Zone 6. I would like to plant a fall crop of potatoes. Any suggestions?

Thank you!

McLean VA

WPF Replies.

     Typically, I think folks in your area would plant their Fall crop of potatoes around mid-August. Our crop of seed potatoes is now growing in the field and will be harvested in September. We'll begin shipping at that time and will continue shipping through the Winter and Spring. But we don't have seed potatoes to ship between now and September.
     Some folks with your same need will get certified seed potatoes from us every year for their Spring crop. They will take a portion of that Spring crop harvest and store those tubers in the refrigerator for a couple months. Then two weeks before their Fall planting date, they will allow those tubers stored for planting purposes to warm up and begin sprouting. By planting these saved tubers and buying fresh certified seed every Spring, these folks are never more than one generation removed from clean certified seed. And they get their Fall crop planted and harvested just when they need it. .


Necessary Engagement.

Dear WPF.

     Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for keeping up on this fight for the right to organically farm. you have a lot of support from coast to coast, and we sincerely appreciate your efforts. My mother taught us organic farming when we were kids, and my brother is involved in developing the organic food industry in Montana, so you have the support of my family as well. The last court ruling on this was truly ridiculous, (and most likely criminal) likely unconstitutional and at the least not in the spirit of American values and individual rights. Thank you so much for taking time out from your farm and family and continuing on with this 'essential to life as we know it' lawsuit. It is unbelievable that it has to be fought for, really.

Sebastopol CA

WPF Replies.

     Sometimes, a matter is set before us. One then has two choices: turn away or get involved. The issues involved in OSGATA et al v. Monsanto - Farmers-Right-to-Farm/Eaters-Right-to-Choice - are critical issues that won't wait. Engagement is necessary, so here we are. Thanks for your support.


Justice in USA .

Dear WPF.

     Great to see this lawsuit on behalf of 300,000 individuals and 4,500 farms against Monsanto to stop them from suing farmers whose crops have been contaminated by GMO pollution for patent infringement. Folks can't believe this is happening in the U.S. - that an organic farmer who's crop has been contaminated then being sued by Monsanto - they think the lawsuits should be going the other way. Maybe this effort will help!

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     Brenda, our farmers are fearful they will be threatened with litigation should they be trespassed upon and contaminated by Monsanto transgenic seed. At present, lacking court protection under the Declaratory Judgment Act, should a contaminated farmer pursue Monsanto for damages resulting from such contamination, we believe Monsanto would perversely claim infringement of it's patent by the farmer's 'possession' of it's technology - for which no royalty had been paid - and Monsanto would cite as prima facie evidence of that possession, the filing of that initial lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. What farmer would risk her farm going up against Monsanto's army of lawyers and having to defend her family from a patent infringement lawsuit? We believe our family farmers qualify for court protection under the Declaratory Judgment Act. That is why we filed our initial lawsuit under the DJA in March 2011. We filed this Appeal to Judge Buchwald's dismissal of our case in order for the farmers to receive justice from the courts. The lower court committed numerous reversible errors. Those errors are cited in our Appeal. We believe we have standing to get our case to trial. We believe American farmers have the right to challenge the validity of Monsanto's transgenic seed patents and that when we are allowed to do so, we will win our case.


Greed and Disgust.

Dear WPF.

     I have been horrified about the Monsanto Company and their tactics for years. I am SO glad to see you all try to take them on. It blows my mind and perplexes me to no end, that the courts have constantly found in favor of Monsanto, when you see their tactics, greed, and disgusting ways they have destroyed farm after farm world wide. Best of luck. I'll keep you in my prayers.

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     Thanks for your support.


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