October 28, 2014
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Good Growing Year Draws to a Close.
photo above was taken by talented photographer Jim Richardson during
our Wood Prairie Farm potato harvest of twenty years ago back in
1994. That little boy - with the look
of determination - is
our oldest son, Peter, then four. The photo reminds us that
everyone has a role to play on a family farm. We have always
liked the can-do attitude expressed by that green glove.
In the last few weeks we’ve experienced about 5” of rain in Northern
Maine and the ground is pretty wet. Before these recent rains
weather was unusually dry - really going all the way back to the first
of August. But we know the pendulum swings. We’re grateful
rains held off as long as they did.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
| Report From
Louisville NOSB Meeting.
Jim is away this week attending the Fall meeting of the National
Organic Standards Board being held in Louisville, Kentucky.
He is at the meeting to testify not only as a long-time organic farmer,
but also in his role as President of the national farmer-run membership
trade organization, Organic
Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) Cornicopia Institute's
policy advisory board.
There is a growing concern in the organic community over the
inappropriate behavior of US Department of Agriculture. The
and widely held view is that USDA’s
unjustified restriction of the NOSB’s Congressionally-mandated
independence is placing the USDA partnership with NOSB in jeopardy.
Many organic leaders fear the USDA misbehavior will hurt
organic integrity and erode consumer confidence in the Certified
The last NOSB
meeting, held in San Antonio in April, saw
tensions running high. There were arrests
of organic supporters from Organic Consumers
Association (OCA) who were protesting
USDA actions, believed to be illegal and by appearances an
effective tactical takeover of the NOSB by USDA.
In the next seed piece we will print a
transcript of the testimony prepared by Jim for oral presentation in
Earlier this month OSGATA submitted written comments
to the NOSB in advance of the Louisville meeting. These comments are printed
immediately below and refer to the grave situation
confronting the organic community.
Jim & Megan
Organic Standards Board
Independence Avenue, SW
2648-So, Ag Stop 0268
The certified organic members of Organic Seed Growers and Trade
Association (OSGATA) thank the NOSB for this opportunity to express our
views. OSGATA is a national farmer-run membership trade
organization made up of certified organic farmers, certified organic
seed growers, certified organic seed companies, seed breeders and
organizations and individuals supportive of organic seed.
OSGATA works to develop, protect and promote the organic seed
trade and its farmers and to assure that the organic community has
access to excellent, high quality organic seed, free of GE contaminants
and suited to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture.
We would like to commend those members of the NOSB who have dedicated
themselves to upholding traditional organic values and who selflessly
fight for organic integrity and put the interests of organic consumers
and organic family farmers first and foremost. You
demonstrate the hopes and expectations of the organic
Our willingness in the late 1980s to accept regulation, under the terms
of the Organic Foods Production Act, was in exchange for the provision
of an independent NOSB which would effectively represent the best
interests of the organic community.
Additionally, we have particular admiration and great respect for the
family farmer members of the NOSB, and other individuals, who commit
tremendous amounts of time to NOSB activities over their five-year
terms, and receive no compensation from employers because of the fact
they are self-employed. Ultimately, their sacrifice is too
and these individuals should receive compensation for their service
However, despite the best efforts of the NOSB, we are very concerned
that a troubling pattern has developed. We are troubled that
disappointing behavior on the part of USDA is resulting in a failing
private-public partnership. This failure not only limits the
NOSB, but it threatens the very foundation and success of the organic
As certified organic farmers and certified organic businesses, we are
troubled by recent trends lessening the Congressionally-mandated
independence of the NOSB.
We are troubled by the arbitrary behavior of USDA and the lack of due
process which resulted in the reversal of the Sunset Rule and the
elimination of the Policy Development Subcommittee.
We are troubled when the deck is stacked and
non-family-farmer-owner-operators are appointed by USDA to the four
NOSB farmer positions.
We are troubled when representatives of independent organic companies
are passed over for appointment to the NOSB in favor of employees of
corporations for which organic represents only a small percentage of
We are troubled by the refusal of USDA to enforce the requirements for
outdoor access by corporate livestock operations.
We are troubled by USDA’s long running refusal to act and ban
engineered nanotechnologies from organic processing.
We are troubled when strife and dissension resulting from USDA
misbehavior results in waning credibility and growing disrespect for
the organic label. This USDA misbehavior has profound
ramifications for the organic marketplace and for those of us who make
our living growing and selling certified organic
The recent sobering Hartman Group study, Organic & Natural 2014(http://hartbeat.hartman-group.com/article/552/As-organic
-s-authenticity-halo-fades-consumers-turn-to-local-food) which depicts organic as a
fading star, falling behind “local” in the hearts and minds of
consumers, should give us all pause.
Many OSGATA members have been active in the organic community for
twenty, thirty, even forty years. We have in common that we
invested in and fully committed to organic farming. Our
experience has time and time again proved organic to be the superior
production system. We have been organic for a long time and
are in it for the long haul.
We do want to help the NOSB correct our collective problems.
Here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.
tool for protecting farm crops.
| A New Technique
for Preventing Bird Damage on Valuable Farm Crops.
many farmers, we have had our share of problems with birds causing
damage to our crops here in Maine. We have had Blackbirds in the Spring
uproot and kill small young corn plants to get at the seed kernel the
corng rows from. Come Fall, Blue Jays - and sometimes Blackbirds - eat
the kernals off our Organic
Dorinny and Organic
Dakota Ivory Seed Corn
as it dries down. Once bird scouts locate something delectable - like a
ripening organic corn field - and report back to flock leaders, the
numbers of troublesome hungry birds flocking to a field can balloon at
a jaw-dropping rate into the hundreds or thousands in just a matter of
This year we imported
from England two well-made and carefully constructed nylon "kites"
designed to look like predator Goshawks. These Goshawk Kites perfored
well and kept the birds at bay. In winds as little as 5mph the Goshawk
Kites will go airborne and swoop and dive in a very realistic manner.
The Goshawk Kites come with a telescoping carbon-fiber pole which has
been engineered very well to bend and buffer the effects of the wind.
We rigged our kites so they would suspend from a height of 38'. Going
to this height was worth the effort because there is a lot more wind up
at 38' than 18'. A listless Goshawk kite is insufficient to fool a bird
brain. The Goshawk design is ideal because real Goshawks will kill
birds both on the ground and in flight. Somehow the brids grasp this
versatile predatory ability and - being fooled by the Goshawk Kites -
they kept their distance. We made a You
Tube video of our Goshawk Kite (1:15)
in one of our Wood Prairie Farm corn fields. You can view for yourself
just how realistic these effective and nonviolent Goshawk Kites are at
performing their job of keeping pesky birds away.
Jim & Megan
Here for Our Organic Wood Prairie Farm Cover Crop Seed.
| Notable Quotes:
Rachel Carson on Intimacy.
by Angela Wotton
2 c whole wheat
2 1/2 tsp baking
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
3/4 c finely chopped walnuts
4 oz unsalted butter
1/2 c dried dates, seeded and finely chopped
3 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 1/2 c grated carrots
(about 3 medium)
handful of raisins
handful of coconut flakes
1/2 c plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x5x3 or 8x8 cake pan with
together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the
walnuts and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
the dates into the melted butter, breaking up the dates a bit. In a
separate bowl combine the bananas and carrots. Stir in the date-butter
mixture, breaking up any date clumps as you go. Whisk in the yogurt and
eggs. Add the flour mixture, raisins and coconut flakes and stir until
everything just comes together. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for
40 - 60 minutes (depending on pan used) or until a toothpick tests
clean in the center of the cake. Remove from oven and let cool. Frost
with your favorite icing if desired.
| Special Offer: FREE Packet of Organic
Fall/Winter Salad Mix Seed.
Even if you were to only have
a single window in your home, you do have the ability to enjoy gardening and grow some of
your own fresh salad greens this Winter! Here’s
how. Find a window
box for yourself at least 4” deep. Even a half-gallon milk
carton laid on its side can do the trick.
Fill the window box with our Organic
Fort Vee Potting Soil - or secure some
good local organic soil. Moisten
your soil and carefully lay seed on top.
Then cover the seed with
a thin layer of saved dry soil. Next, moisten the soil you
have laid on top. Cover the window box with plastic wrap and place in a warm, high spot
such as atop the refrigerator. As soon as you see the seeds
sprout, remove the plastic and set the window box in its window
location. Be sure to water
adequately – but not too much!
Fall/Winter Salad Mix Seed contains a mix of delicious salad seeds
of varieties well-suited to the low-light and lower-temperature
conditions found in Fall and Winter.
We will help you get your Winter
gardening project off to a good start. Get a FREE
Packet of Organic Fall/Winter Salad Mix (Value $3.50) when
the amount of goods in your next order totals $25 or more. FREE
Packet of Organic Fall/Winter Salad offer ends 5pm Eastern
/ 2pm Pacific Halloween, Friday, October 31, 2014, so please hurry.
Please use Promo Code WPF1199.
Your order and the FREE Packet of Organic
Fall/Winter Salad must ship by 5/6/15. Please call or
Call Wood Prairie Farm (800) 829-9765.
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seeds Section.
Farming. One window and a windowbox allows you to grown
Mailbox: Wildly Unregulated SynBio.
Synthetic Biology Now: 194 Countries. Many
of the extracts that scientists are developing are genetically
engineered versions of natural extracts traditionally produced from
plants cultivated in developing nations such as vanilla, saffron,
vetiver, coconut, and wormwood.
Currently there exists almost no
regulation for synbio products. Recently a group of 116
consumer, food safety, environmental, sustainable agriculture, parent,
public health, and faith based organizations signed a document called
"Principles for the Oversight of Synthetic Biology".
- The Scariest GMOs You've Never Heard Of.
SynBio - an
extreme form of genetic engineering - has up to this point received
very little oversight. The highly credible 'ETC Group' describes
historic progress made after a hard fought battle at the UN's
Convention on Biological Diversity in Korea. "'Synthetic Biology has
been like the wild west: a risky technology frontier with little
oversight or regulation.'"
content with mere unethical profits from Bio-Piracy, multinational
corporations now eye unlabeled and fraudulent substitution via SynBio
of basic traditional food ingredients produced by family farmers in
developing countries. The new malevolent corporate highway to greed
throws the world's peasent farmers get thrown under the bus.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm