Wood Prairie Farm                                        In This Issue of The Seed Piece: 
 Seed Piece Newsletter                                                                                       Monsanto Threats.
Organic News and Commentary
                                                                Recipe: Crispy Rosemary Potato Chips.
   Wednesday, June 01, 2011                                                                            Special Offer: FREE Organic Fertilizer.                                                                                                                                                                                    What Did I Miss?
                                                                                                      Our Mailbox: Productive Potatoes and Solidarity Forever.                                                                                                            


               Native Mainer Prairie Blush . Prairie Blush is a delicious clonal variant found growing on Wood Prairie Farm in 2001.

Monsanto Threats.                                                      
FAMILY FARMERS AMPLIFY COMPLAINT AGAINST MONSANTO'S GMOs, REINFORCING THEIR ARGUMENTS WITH TWO DOZEN ADDITIONAL PLAINTIFFS: Monsanto's Failure to Provide Binding Legal Covenant to Protect Family Farmers Threatened by GMO Contamination Necessitates Amended Complaint.

NEW YORK - June 1, 2011 - New threats by Monsanto have led to the filing of an amended complaint by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) in its suit on behalf of family farmers, seed businesses, and organic agricultural organizations challenging Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed. Twenty-three new plaintiffs have joined with the original 60 in the amended complaint, bringing the total number represented in the case to 83. The plaintiffs in the suit, titled Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), et al. v. Monsanto and pending in the Southern District of New York, now include 36 family farmer, food, agricultural research, food safety, and environmental organizations representing hundreds of thousands of members including several thousand certified organic, biodynamic, or otherwise non-transgenic family farmers.

“Our clients don’t want a fight with Monsanto, they just want to be protected from the threat they will be contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed and then be accused of patent infringement,” said PUBPAT Executive Director Daniel B. Ravicher. “We asked Monsanto to give our clients reassurance they wouldn’t do such a thing, and in response they chose instead to reiterate the same implicit threat to organic agriculture made in the past.”

Soon after the March filing of the lawsuit, Monsanto issued a statement saying they would not assert their patents against farmers who suffer “trace” amounts of transgenic contamination. In response, and in the hope the matter could be resolved out of court, PUBPAT attorneys wrote Monsanto’s attorneys asking the company to make its promise legally binding. Monsanto responded to PUBPAT’s request by hiring former solicitor general, Seth P. Waxman, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of WilmerHale, who rejected PUBPAT’s request and instead confirmed Monsanto may indeed make claims of patent infringement against organic farmers who become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed. Copies of both letters are available as exhibits at the end of the amended complaint.

“Monsanto’s letter was an empty, indefensible, and self-evident evasion showing they are only interested in spinning propaganda without taking serious steps to resolve the problem created for organic and non-transgenic agriculture,” said one of the co-plaintiffs in the suit, Don Patterson of Virginia. “With the Monsanto letter signed by Waxman, the company rolled out their biggest legal cannon, but they fired off only fluffy wadding and smoke,” as he views it. “The letter shows Monsanto wanting to protect their freedom to threaten farmers with patent infringement suits,” he states; “Both the threats and the lawsuits are clearly important to their marketing strategy and business model.”

“The serious issues being engaged in this case require a constructive and socially-acceptable response from the defendant in the public interest,” adds Maine farmer Jim Gerritsen, President of OSGATA, the lead plaintiff in the suit. “In the absence of that, we reassert the essential importance of the arguments stated in March and reinforced now by the additional evidence of the Monsanto intransigence. Monsanto’s utter failure to act reasonably to address our concerns has only reaffirmed the need for our lawsuit.”

The amended Complaint elaborates a fear tangibly vexing many family farmers: “Monsanto continued in the statement to perversely characterize this suit as an ‘attack,’ when Plaintiffs seek no money from and no injunction against them.  All Plaintiffs seek is peace of mind if they are ever contaminated by Monsanto’s transgenic seed, the company could never sue them for patent infringement. This is not an attack by the Plaintiffs and to characterize it that way only further evidences Monsanto’s aggressive and threatening attitude with respect to its patents. Thus, the statement made by Monsanto in response to this suit has only served to heighten Plaintiff’s fear that Monsanto will seek to enforce its patents against them should they ever be contaminated by Monsanto’s transgenic seed.”

In addition to supplementing the complaint with Monsanto’s most recent clarifying statement confirming its threat to the plaintiffs and GMO-free agriculture, the new group of 23 organizations, seed companies, farms and individual farmers includes fourteen organizations: Weston A. Price Foundation, Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Rhode Island, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Manitoba Organic Alliance, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (Wisconsin), Midwest Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Florida Organic Growers, Peace River Organic Producers Association (Alberta and British Columbia) and Union Paysanne (Quebec); two seed companies: Seed We Need (Montana), Wild Garden Seed (Oregon); and seven farms or individual farmers: Common Good Farm, LLC (Nebraska), American Buffalo Company (Nebraska), Full Moon Farm, Inc. (Vermont), Radiance Dairy (Iowa), Brian L. Wickert (Wisconsin), Bruce Drinkman (Wisconsin), and Murray Bast (Ontario).

These plaintiffs join the 60 plaintiffs from the original filing of the lawsuit in March including twenty-two organizations: Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association; Organic Crop Improvement Association International, Inc. (OCIA); OCIA Research and Education, Inc.; The Cornucopia Institute; Demeter Association, Inc.; Navdanya International; Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.; Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont; Rural Vermont; Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association; Southeast Iowa Organic Association; Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society; Mendocino Organic Network (California); Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance; Canadian Organic Growers; Family Farmer Seed Cooperative; Sustainable Living Systems (Montana); Global Organic Alliance; Food Democracy Now!; Family Farm Defenders, Inc.; Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund; twelve seed companies: FEDCO Seeds, Inc. (Maine); Adaptive Seeds, LLC (Oregon); Sow True Seed (North Carolina); Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (Virginia); Mumm's Sprouting Seeds (Saskatchewan); Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., LLC (Missouri); Comstock, Ferre & Co. LLC (Connecticut); Seedkeepers, LLC (California); Siskiyou Seeds (Oregon); Countryside Organics (Virginia); Cuatro Puertas (New Mexico); Interlake Forage Seeds, Ltd. (Manitoba); and, twenty-six farms and farmers: Alba Ranch (Kansas); Wild Plum Farm (Montana); Gratitude Gardens (Washington); Richard Everett Farm, LLC (Nebraska); Philadelphia Community Farm, Inc. (Wisconsin); Genesis Farm (New Jersey); Chispas Farms, LLC (New Mexico); Kirschenmann Family Farms, Inc. (North Dakota); Midheaven Farms (Minnesota); Koskan Farms (South Dakota); California Cloverleaf Farms; North Outback Farm (North Dakota); Taylor Farms, Inc. (Utah); Jardin del Alma (New Mexico); Ron Gargasz Organic Farms (Pennsylvania); Abundant Acres (Missouri); T & D Willey Farms (California); Quinella Ranch (Saskatchewan); Nature's Way Farm, Ltd. (Alberta); Levke and Peter Eggers Farm (Alberta); Frey Vineyards, Ltd. (California); Bryce Stephens (Kansas); Chuck Noble (South Dakota); LaRhea Pepper (Texas); Paul Romero (New Mexico); and, Donald Wright Patterson, Jr. (Virginia).

“The issues raised in the lawsuit are critical, not just to organic farmers and others who do not want to grow genetically-modified (transgenic) crops,” Gerritsen says, but “also to the safety of food and everyone who eats—and that includes everyone concerned about environmental protection and public health.” As Gerritsen sees the lawsuit, “This is not just a minor dispute between a few family farmers and a powerful corporation accustomed to getting its own way; it is a debate over who offers the best and most responsible way to feed the people of the world over the decades and centuries ahead.” Monsanto offers an expedient short-cut with enormous long-term risks and consequences for public health and environmental degradation, he says; “This, we intend to prove in court.”

“The USDA, the White House, and the Congress have evaded responsibility to protect the public from the potential and unstudied dangers of transgenic food, not even requiring careful, long-term, independent testing nor the clear GMO labeling long-demanded by the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens,” states Bryce Stephens, a Kansas wheat farmer, who is OSGATA’s vice-president. “President Obama said he wanted to see mandatory GMO labeling during his 2008 presidential campaign, but he has not provided it,” Stephens reminds us. “We need someone to act in the public’s defense if our officials will not,” he says, and that is part of the motivation for Stephens’s decision to join the case as an individual plaintiff alongside his participation in plaintiff organizations.

“When GMO crops were first given the green light to enter the market in 1992 by the Bush-Quayle administration, they were declared ‘Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)’ based almost entirely on internal industry studies and industry-sponsored research done under controlling company contract,” Stephens states. “Given the serious potential long-term dangers and only minimally and briefly-studied risks, this was reprehensibly irresponsible, and the government has not shown any more prudence over the years since 1992,” Stephens charges. “With the long-term health consequences of GMO food yet to be understood and in the absence of objective studies, we have all been involuntarily co-opted into a giant biotech industry experiment,” he concludes; “Our citizens and the people of the world deserve better than that.”

Read the entire story on the Wood Prairie Farm website by clicking here.                                                                                                   

Crispy Rosemary Potato Chips

Photo by Angela Wotton

Recipe: Crispy Rosemary Potato Chips

2 1/2 c vegetable oil

1 pound Butte potatoes, scrubbed

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat oil to 325F. Using a mandoline, slice potatoes widthwise into paper-thin slices.

In batches, fry potatoes heated in oil, 1 to 2 minutes, making sure not to overcrowd pan. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

While still hot, sprinkle each batch with rosemary and salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Country Living Magazine, February 2011
Special Offer: FREE Organic Fertilizer.

     Now that much of the garden is planted take a look and see if the potatoes and other crops need an extra punch of organic fertilizer. With all the rain many of us have had it could be that nutrients have leached out and a little boost is in order.
     Here's your chance to get a FREE 3 lb bag of organic fertilizer ($9.95 value) - your choice of Potato, All-Purpose, Fish Meal or Pelletized Poultry compost. earn a FREE bag with your next purchase of $45 or more.
    Please use Promo Code 1025. FREE Organic Fertilizer must ship with order and entire order must ship by June 30, 2011. Offer ends Monday 6/6/11 so hurry! Call or click today. 

Click here for Wood Prairie Organic Fertilizers.


What Did I Miss?

     With lots going on we're using regular posts on our Facebook wall to keep you tuned into the Wood Prairie Organic Community. Here are some such highlights since our last Seed Piece that you won't want to miss. Jim & Megan.

 * YouTube Video - Unloading Truckload of Organic Fertilizer in the rain.

 * Yes Organic Can Feed the World

 * Thorough article on the issues involved in the lawsuit challenging Monsanto's patents by Frank Barrie of Knowwhereyourfoodcomesfrom.com

 * Stunning long list of seed companies bought out by Monsanto.

 Please click here to become a Friend of Wood Prairie Farm on Facebook and keep connected.

Our Mailbox: Productive Potatoes & Solidarity Forever

Prairie Potato Gals. From Maine Icons available here.

Excellent. Keep up the good work. The lawsuit against Monsanto should be tried up there among Maine farmers.
      By the way, your seed potatoes grew - every one of them. We are routinely getting 20lbs of potatoes per seedling. What is producing this remarkable crop is unclear, but it is happening. This is the best year for home gardening that I have seen in the last 40 years.

Thanks a million.

Houston TX

Those are quite the Texas yields! Glad our seed is working well for you. Jim.
Q. Thank you Megan. I'm so excited to get the potatoes. We've been looking for a farm for TWO YEARS and just finally found one. That's why we're so late ordering potatoes.

Thank you both for all you do. You're in my prayers and I know you will win the case against Monsanto.

Micaville NC

So glad that you've found your farm. now the fun begins! Thanks for your words of support. We're all in this together and we are grateful you are behind us. Megan. 
Q. Great job!!!! Filing suit against Monsanto!! Keep it up & let us know the results. Thank you,

Oxnard CA

We are prepared for this lawsuit to be a drawnout fight. We promise to keep you informed and connected by using :

1) Our Seed Piece Newsletter
2) Our Facebook Wall
3) The Red Button News Link named 'Organic Lawsuit Against Monsanto' and located on the top navigation bar of our website (https://www.woodprairie.com/wpf_news)

Thanks for the support.
Jim & Megan.

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