Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
             Wednesday November 13, 2013

 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

 November Snow.

     Bewildered Prairie Cattle. Still out grazing on Wood Prairie Farm, only now it's harder work. Last year we were free of snow until after Thanksgiving. But last Sunday we got 3" of snow. The days since have been mostly cloudy and have not ventured out of the 20s so the snow has stayed put. Knowing this storm was on the way we pushed hard so that by Saturday night we had cut, split and put away 13 cords of firewood plus dressed, cut and wrapped seven hogs which we shared with our crew. So now that winter has set in, this might be a pretty good time for you to get yourself invited over for supper if you know any  of our co-workers and you have a hankering for some good farm-raised organic pork.

 Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
(800) 829-9765

Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.

Free Cover Crop Manual. Your tax dollars at work.

Don't Miss Out on This Great FREE Cover Crops Manual.

     Building and protecting your soil with cover crops is an essential tenet of organic agriculture.  We know excellent organic farmers who annually spend as much money on cover crop seed as they do on seed they use to grow their cash crops.  This fact hints at just how important this cover cropping practice is for your soil.

    If you don’t yet have a copy of the FREE Cover Crops Manual produced by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture Ag Research Service (ARS) you must download it today.  This manual should be on every farmer and gardener’s bookshelf.  The color photos alone will make this a reference you will turn to often.


Click here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed Section.

Answers for a Newfoundland College Student.

Recently we were asked to respond to five questions put to us by a college student working on a project on GE food. Find my answers in Bold. Jim.

1. Why take such measures as filing a lawsuit against Monsanto when they have stated on their website that "it has never been, nor will be, Monsanto's policy to exercise its patent rights where trace amounts of our patented seeds or traits are present in a farmer's fields as a result of inadvertent means" ?

Farmers are at risk. The record shows we are wise to not believe Monsanto. Only a fool would imagine that an anonymous statement on a company website has a grain of legal validity. Monsanto's so called "Commitment to Farmers," posted on their website is replete with vague and undefined legal phrases such as "trace amounts" and "inadvertent means." Even if this statement honestly represented the Monsanto policy today, what would prevent Monsanto from changing their policy tomorrow? The fact is our attorneys asked Monsanto for a binding legal covenant that they would not sue our farmers should they become contaminated. Monsanto refused. That says something.


Additionally, Monsanto has pursued farmers who have wanted nothing to do with their technology. here are three examples.

a. Stephen Webster. ONT.

b. David Runyon. IN.

c. The Nelson Family. ND.

2. Have any of the plaintiffs in the suit ever been directly acted upon by Monsanto?

This is a preemptive Declatory Judgment Act lawsuit (see above) and we are seeking prophylactic Court protection. Additionally, since we have a very large Plaintiff group we do not know the individual experiences of all 500,000 individuals in our Plaintiff group.

3. Monsanto claims that their 145 suits against farmers in the United States is an insignificant number compared to the two million farmers in the country. What is your opinion on this?

Tell that to those 145 farmers. Our federal lawsuit is a preemptive action and seeks a Declatory Judgment by the Court to protect family farmers under the provisions of the Declatory Judgment Act. The DJA was enacted by Congress about 30  years ago to allow groups or businesses to receive a Court judgment as to whether they would be liable for patent infringement prior to committing acts which might otherwise place them at legal jeopardy. We have farmers in our Plaintiff group, who fearful of being accused of patent infringement have given up growing organic canola, organic corn and organic soybeans. They have suffered significant economic harm already. 

Click Here to Read The Brief

Monsanto misrepresents reality when they refer repetitively to only the cases which have gone to court. They ignore another 600+ cases which were settled out-of-court and documented by Plaintiff Center for Food Safety.

Click Here to Read The Report

Additionally, an unknown number of threatening accusatory letters, thought to be in the thousands or tens of thousands, have been sent by Monsanto to farmers questioning their behavior and alleged mis-use of Monsanto technology. In fact, the number of farmers pursued by Monsanto was considered a significant percentage according to one of three Justices in the January 2013 Court of Appeals Oral Argument. 

Click Here to Read The Transcript of Our Jan 2013 Oral Argument

4. How would the lives of farmers change for the better if OSGATA won this case so that they would not have to worry about being targeted by Monsanto?

Once our family farmers receive the Court protection we seek, we will gain full use of our property and will be able to grow on our farms the crops we choose without the fear of losing our farms and livelihoods in trying to fight off one of the world's most notorious patent bullies. All of our Plaintiffs have this in common: we are not customers of Monsanto. We have not signed licensing agreements with Monsanto because we do not want their technology. We therefore deserve protection from any false claims of infringing on their patent rights.

5. Monsanto states on its website that "detectable presence of GMO material in crop does not constitute a violation of NOP standards and regulations, as long as a grower has not intentionally planted GMO seed and has taken reasonable steps to avoid contact with GMO pollen or seed or both". What is the opinion of farmers in the OSGATA regarding this policy and the possibility of misleading customers regarding the quality of their crops?

We have been certified organic for 31 years. USDA NOP began their regulation of the organic industry eleven years ago, in October 2002. Many farmers, myself included believe the NOP interpretation on GE content is incorrect in that it ignores the historical and current expectation of the organic market. The fact is the organic market equates organic food and seed with freedom from GE content. It is only at an industry's peril that it ignores the expectations of its customers. The members of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, the national trade organization of the Untied States organic seed community respects the expectation of the market and some years ago adopted the following policy.

OSGATA Policy on Genetically Engineered (GE) Seed Contamination 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 unacceptable. 



Farmers seeking Justice. We're now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review our case.

Frederick Douglas. Wise man.
 Notable Quotes: Frederick Douglas on Humanity.

     "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."

- Frederick Douglas
1818 - 1895

Recipe: Crispy Potato Galette.

1 lb Carola potatoes, peeled
4 T butter
Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400F. Slice the potatoes to about 1/16" (you can use a mandoline for consistency). Add 2T of the butter to a cast iron skillet and swirl to coat pan.

Beginning at center of skillet, arrange potato slices in a closely circular pattern, spiraling outward, until pan is covered with slices all in one layer. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 T butter. Cook on med-high heat until it starts to sizzle and cook about 1-2 minutes more. Transfer to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Invert to serve.
Serves 2


A Quick and Crispy Meal.

Photo by Angela Wotton.

Our 2013 Post - Potato Harvest Oat Cover Crop. For late Fall we use a heavy seeding rate of 150-200lbs oats/acre.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop

     Everyone should have on hand a sack of Organic Hull-less Oats.  They are an excellent, fast growing cover crop which can be planted anytime during the growing season – Spring, Summer or Fall in the North; and also Winter wherever temperatures are moderate. Oats are a reliable staple of our soil-saving cover cropping.  Keep some Hull-less Oats on hand for seeding down a random corner of the garden as soon as a harvest is complete.

     We spin oats onto the field right after potato harvest as we are chisel chisel-plowing The oats will grow until steady temperatures in the low 20s or teens in November in Northern Maine – kill it, leaving behind a nice golden mat which covers and protects the soil until Spring.  That oat mat can be quickly incorporated in the Spring by simply discing or rototilling. At left, is this Fall’s oat catch crop last week which was spun onto the field in October.

     Here's your chance to earn a FREE 2 ½ lbs. sack of our Organic Hull-less Oat Seed (Value $9.95) when your next order totals $45 or more. FREE Organic Hull-less Oat Seed offer ends Midnight Monday, November 18, 2013, so better hurry!

     Please use Promo Code WPF1162. Your order and FREE Organic Hull-less Oat Seed must ship by 5/09/14. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed Section.

Our Mailbox: Good Soil, Too Close to Call and Hard Working Farmers.

Good Soil.

Dear WPF.

My box arrived today from Wood Prairie Farm. My first shipment this year of Potato of the Month Club, the best potatoes on the planet and every other as well as some Chantenay Carrots, parsnips, organic yeast for my pizza dough and dried beans for great soups and Boston baked beans. Chicken soup on the stove and watching 'Under the Tuscan Sun" written by my friend Frances Mayes. Life is great. You're a gentleman and a scholar. Your work fighting GMOs will protect the family farm and food supply for generations to come as long as we keep up the fight, support the family farm and protect our food supply. You're a hero.

Kildeer IL

WPF Replies.

      Thank you. Our real job as certified organic farmers is to take good care of the soil. In return the soil takes great care of us and our customers. Almost 40 years of treating the soil well has made a big difference which is what you taste. It's the soil more than anything else that gives great flavor to wine grapes, apples and yes potatoes, carrots and parsnips too. Organic farming precepts teach us to emulate nature. The success of organic farming - healthy soil, nutritious and good tasting food - is a result of being faithful to natural systems and allowing nature to be in charge. We are junior partners and nature is running the show.


Too Close to Call.

Dear WPF.

     I supported I-522 in Washington State but when every other commercial on TV tells the sheeples to vote no and then lies about the reasons why it was an uphill battle. Getting closer to it though. Good luck Maine!

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     We understand that of the $22 million spent to confuse Washington voters into voting no on I-522, all but $550 (!) came from out-of-state corporations bent on denying consumers of their right-to-know. The I-522 vote represents an intolerable perversion of our voting process. We must challenge the serial corporate buy-out of our democracy. Had this electoral corruption occurred in a developing country we would have declared abhorrence at the lack of a free and fair election. The election results on I-522 are still too close to call because of Washington's process of encouraging ballots to be sent in by mail.


Hard Working Farmers.

Dear WPF.

     The corporatorcracy and shadow government has already put the nail in the coffin of the family farm, worldwide. And the UN is the defacto one world government. Welcome to the loving arms of hypocrisy and tyranny.

Scottsdale AZ

WPF Replies.

     We are paddling upstream but one won't find a more determined group working to survive than family farmers. In places like the State of Maine we are making unmistakable headway.


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