Issue of The Seed Piece:
Breaking News! Prop 37 Election Fraud?
Recipe: Winter Squash Soup.
Mailbox: Justice, Dissent, Work of Our
Ancestors & Parity Theory.
Aroostook County Potato Harvest. Circa 1902.
It was good digging that September of 1902. The ten acre field
depicted in this photo yielded an excellent crop of 1415 barrels (each
barrel holding over 165 pounds of potatoes), totaling just shy of a
quarter million pounds. While most farmers dug their crop with a
one-row ground-driven potato digger pulled by a single team of horses,
this farmer was pushing hard and opted for four horsepower so that they
could dig steady all day long with a bare minimum of breaks.
Demonstrating a sound grasp of the Maine work ethic, the hard working
crew hand-picked every potato in this field in just two days
time. Note the low slung horse drawn “jigger wagon” in the
background which was used to haul 18 hand-loaded barrels per load out
of the field and into a distant underground potato storage, which is
known in Aroostook as a “potato house.” The little boy proudly
displays the two foxes he had caught in his trap line - which he tended
before he went to work that day as a “picker” helping the others on the
crew ‘pick potatoes.”
One hundred and ten years later, this same
field is still growing potatoes in rotation. It is part of the
continuing tradition of growing high quality seed and tablestock
potatoes in Maine’s Potato Empire.
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Wood Prairie Farm Home Page
Megan Gerritsen & Family
| Breaking News! Prop 37 Election
question being asked today is “Was there election fraud
Prop 37, the Right-To-Know GMO Labeling initiative?" Our friends at Food Democracy Now!
are reporting that "statistical anomalies" and
significant "irregularities" have been uncovered by a team
independent statisticians who are analyzing raw voter data from California's Prop 37 vote held on
6. The anomalies appear in
precincts of nine counties including San Francisco,
and Alameda. The number of votes involved are significant
and the discrepancies are great enough that they have the potential for
altering the outcome
of the Prop 37 vote.
Free and fair elections are the
hallmark of a democratic society. California
the American people deserve an honest vote, 100% transparency and a
accounting of the Prop 37 vote.
sign onto the FDN! letter which urges California Secretary
Debra Bowen to act honorably and make absolutely certain every vote is
accurately reported and counted.
Thanks! Jim &
Election Fraud on
Click to enlarge graphic.
Winter Squash Soup. Delicious meal
for a Winter's day.
Photo by Angela Wotton
|Recipe: Winter Squash Soup.
1/2 c apple cider
butter in a large stock pot. Add carrots, onion and celery over medium
heat, until soft, about 8 minutes
Stir in apple cider. Add winter squash, potatoes and vegetable stock.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40
minutes. Add the nutmeg and ginger.
Puree the soup in batches and return to stock pot. Thin soup with water
if desired. Add salt to taste and serve. Megan.
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|Our Mailbox: Justice, Dissent,
Crediting Our Ancestors & Parity Theory
Let There Be Justice.
misuse of power is a dangerous thing and Monsanto is grossly guilty in
this regard. My thoughts are with you and I am sure millions of people
around the world support all your endeavors. The absolute insanity of
legally pursuing farmers whose crops are contaminated and their
livelihoods in tatters because of Monsanto GM crops is one of the worst
injustices of our time.
Bless you all for your tireless work. We in
Australia have an organization called Diggers that promotes heirloom
seeds and they do their best to get the message out.
I hope justice is done for you and all the
farmers, organizations and people you represent so bravely. David
brought down Goliath with a well-placed stone and that action showed
that anyone can take on a 'giant'. It just takes courage and the
conviction to stand up for what is right.
Let there be justice in the true sense.
Jim & Megan
AC 21 Dissent Provides Clarity.
will that USDA AC 21 committee recommendation about farmers having to
purchase insurance to get protection from Biotech contamination play
into the current debate?
Since the USDA's AC 21 Report departs from reality, it has little
bearing on anything. Organic farmers want our right-to-farm protected.
We want Monsanto to contain their pollution on their side of the
fence. We want Monsanto to respect our property rights and not trespass
onto our farms and contaminate our crops. We want court protection so
that if Monsanto violates our rights and ruins our crops, that we won't
have to risk going bankrupt from defending ourselves against frivolous
patent infringement litigation should Monsanto choose to assert their
patent rights. We want the full use of our farms so we can peaceably
continue our farming legacy which we have been part of for 10,000 years
and is now under serious threat by genetically engineered transgenic
pollution of a massive and unrecallable nature. We know that family
farmers are at serious legal jeopardy and because of that the people's
rights are also at serious peril. Organic farmers are not about to sell
out our rights for some industry-concocted contamination insurance
scheme which the American taxpayers would likely end up paying for in
the end. No
more corporate welfare. The 'Consensus Report' of AC 21 failed to
address the real issues of unrestrained transgenic pollution. Our
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association Board member and Treasurer,
Isaura Anduluz of New Mexico, is a member of AC 21. Her official
Dissent is contained in the AC
(p58) and it is printed below in it's entirety
because it offers valuable insight lacking in the overall AC 21
from members who have not joined in
consensus. Note: All comments represent comments of individual members,
not policy or positions of USDA.
These final comments are respectfully submitted after review of the
year-long process. The report fails to meet the Secretary’s charge. In
my opinion, this stems from the process design. It set parameters that
could only conclude with federal insurance as the mechanism, potential
eligibility standards/tools could never be defined, and economic losses
were limited only to lawsuits from deregulated genetically engineered
material. At the first meeting, a draft compensation mechanism
(indemnification fund) was presented by another committee member,
although I and maybe others were unaware of the Secretary’s charge
prior to this meeting. This preemptively set the agenda for the
• Does not meet the
Secretary’s charge nor encourages rural economic development for all
• Uses language --
sometimes almost verbatim -- from biotech technology use guides, other
co-existence sessions, and published research. In some cases the
language is from twenty years ago, showing that no progress has been
• Puts the onus on
non-GE farmers to keep their seed and crops free of GE material.
• Fails to recognize
on-going economic losses non-GE farmers are incurring trying to keep
their product clean.
• Faults seed
producers who are contaminated for “not having adequate protocols to
prevent gene flow.” The GE manufacturer and biotech farmer assume no
• Consistently gives
precedence to biotech crops and farmers in the Recommendations listed
by reinforcing that everything is subject to the “market place” or
• Makes the US
taxpayer assume costs for compensation, education and training that
should be assumed by the GE manufacturer who owns the patent on the
unintended GE presence.
• Makes no mentions
of non-commodity and smaller farmers who provide food on a local basis
that also face contamination issues from patented GE and non-GE hybrids.
• Fails to mention
or incorporate public input from farmers and consumers who attended the
meetings in Washington, DC or those who submitted comments.
In a presentation by USDA staff, I asked if any current USDA insurance
programs covered a “man-made” incident. The answer was, “No.” Insurance
is for the exception. The reason no compensation mechanism can be
created is because the “unintended presence of genetically engineered
material” is patented. GE seeds are performing as designed and contain
patented pollen; in nature movement of pollen occurs. All parts of GE
plants – stalk, leaves, pollen, seed – are patented. Any farmer seed
grower contaminated will not want to disclose the contamination because
they are illegally in possession of a patented material and could be
subject to legal action for theft of intellectual property. This was
also discussed in one of the first documents we received “A
Private/Public Potential Solutions….by Watts and Associates, 2011.” The
committee refused to ever recognize this fact.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to a
Coexistence Forum in New Mexico where I asked a Monsanto representative
for a threshold level for adventitious presence, de minimus, etc. He
responded that there is no such thing as adventitious presence, only
“de minimus.” He refused to provide a number and referred me to court
actions on “de minimus.” The reports states that it is not realistic to
guarantee zero presence of unintended genetics in seed. Three of the
major GE manufacturers: Syngenta (Switzerland), BASF (Switzerland) and Bayer (Germany) are all foreign companies
that do not allow planting of GE crops in their countries. “Mack (CEO
of Syngenta) said that he believed Switzerland was ‘the first best
example’ of a country where protectionist agricultural tendencies
worked well and that GM organisms" would not necessarily be needed…"
One of Switzerland's greatest natural
resources is that it is a beautiful country that brings in a lot of
tourism. If the Swiss could lower their consumption spending by one per
cent by applying high productivity farming, they probably would not do
it if it requires changing their approach to how they think about food.
Countries like Switzerland are a good example where such things as GM
food would be very difficult and perhaps commercially inadvisable.”
(Syngenta CEO promotes stronger Swiss-US ties, Swissinfo.ch, June 29,
2009). If it is reasonable for Switzerland, then why is it not
reasonable for our seeds and food to have zero (0%) contamination? Why
should we put at risk our seed stock production that has, and
continues, to feed our country?"
Crediting The Work of Our Ancestors.
Biotech has such potential! Too bad it's in
the hands of unscrupulous (seems to be my word of the day...) people!!
Get REAL scientists involved in biotech, not corp drones!! And keep the
stuff in the lab until we KNOW what the potential fallout might be...
Genetically engineered seed is all about
control - stealing from farmers the right to save and select seed, a
process we have been doing for many many thousands of years. Farmers
are being turned into a new class of serfs beholden to a new corporate
class of patented life holders who were given their power by their
cronies and mercenaries in the government. It is an untenable
situation. Our ancestors domesticated from wild grasses the food crops
which the world's people rely on. The novel events corporations are
allowed to patent is tiny and infinitesinal compared to the massive
work our ancestors performed over thousands of years. Where is the
corporate royalty payment to the
people for our creation of these basic food resources upon which
this planet survives? The patenting of life forms is a rigged system
and the people are victims of grand theft.
Explanation of Parity Theory.
I may be missing something from the last Seed Piece article
about NFU price reportings but I don't think there would be much profit
selling eggs at $2.66 if corn were $12.10, soybeans $29.30, and wheat
at $18.60. And who the hell can sell eggs for $1.05 anyhow. Is that
really the going price? My egg carton cost $.33 and the label is $.22.
One thing I know is that it is the rare farm
commodity crop where the farmgate price reflects the real cost because
of externalized costs and subsidies. For example, America has an energy
intensive agriculture and the effect of the use of our military is to
keep prices "low". If one internalized military expenditures I expect
that the true price of fuel would be something over $10/gallon, not the
$4 we see at the gas pumps. And the price of farm crops would reflect
this fuel price reality and be higher. Anyway, I know the NFU puts a
lot of effort into this reporting and posts it regularly (monthly) and
has been doing so for a long time.
Interestingly, the parity formula doesn't take
into account the price of farm inputs - like corn for egg production.
In fact, parity is first and foremost a monetary policy. Thirty years
ago I read the 'biography of parity' the father of whom is farm
economist Carl Wilken who invented the theory back in the1930s. This
book, Unforgiven - The Story of How
America has Exchanged Parity Agriculture for Parity War was
written by Chuck Walters of Acres USA fame back in 1971. The raw
material economic theory known as "parity" makes sense.
Essentially, parity theory - or par exchange -
recognizes two five-year periods of unprecedented economic prosperity
and stability, 1910-1914 and 1925-1929 in which basic farm
commodity prices were in balance with other key metrics in the economy
- which are regularly reported by the federal government (two examples
that I remember are interest rates and average wage level of the
American worker. However there were about a dozen metrics utilized, all
independant of agriculture). The price of the nine biggest grain
commodities (corn, wheat, oats, rice, barley, sorghum, etc; I don't
think soy was included [soybeans were getting their start in USA and
didn't amount to much acreage in those two specific five-year periods;
nor were there perishables such as eggs, milk etc. I expect these
perishables are add-ons by latter-day NFU parity economists]) were
averaged over those two five-year periods. These basic 9 grain prices
were established as the baseline 'parity' prices in relational balance
to the other non-farm economic sectors.
Parity prices later became known as '100%
parity' when in the early 1950's the USA went off parity - which had
been the official federal government monetary policy in place from 1942
to about 1952 - and we adopted the concept called 'sliding parity'. And
the country has been sliding ever since. 'Sliding Parity' makes about
as much sense as 'sliding honesty' - the reality is you are either
honest or you are not honest, there is no middle ground. Either farm
prices are at par or they are not. So current parity farm price levels
- as depicted in the NFU chart - are established by applying the
historical ratios from the two baseline periods of stability. First,
economists work mathematically taking those non-ag relational metrics
and establish current values based on current dollars. Next the parity
ag prices are mathematically determined by applying the historical
formula ratios updated in current dollars.
Blips and bubbles caused by such factors as
weather and speculation have always been present. This is why they took
two five-year periods in two different decades to determine the most
accurate "average farm gate baseline values." One can find weaknesses
with any theory but it is notable that when the country needed
stability and strength for war production and then transition to
peacetime, parity delivered and performed as promised and predicted.
Can't say that for the years since in which we have substituted debt
creation for the creation of real wealth which parity theory explains
is the process of taking from Nature (debit) and placing the resulting
credit on humankind's side of the ledger.
Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm