Posted on

Row Over Organic Label

LISTENING AGAIN: THIS EXCELLENT 15-YEAR-OLD INTERVIEW REMINDS US OF THE LONG-LASTING FIGHT TO KEEP CHEATER CORPORATIONS OUT OF ORGANIC. The world is full of sell-outs whose quest for riches long ago trampled honest and ethical behavior. Greed-driven aliens have been zeroing in on Organic for quite awhile.
'On Point' is the long-time interview program produced by Boston public radio beacon, WBUR. The era is June 2005 and George Bush is in his fourth year as President. Then-On-Point-host Tom Ashbrook – who grew up on a Midwestern dairy farm – tries to get to the bottom of increasing corporate fraud in the fast-growing organic industry. Tom interviews (48:43) our friend, organic watchdog Cornucopia Institute founder Mark Kastel; good food journalist Michael Pollan; and USDA-accredited organic certifier QAI's VP Joe Smilie.
To gain the most from this episode you'll want to read-between-the-lines.
QAI is uniquely notorious in the annals of organic fraud. As just one example, QAI was the certifier for Randy Contant's jaw-dropping $142 Million massive seven-year grain fraud scheme. https://thecounter.org/organic-food-fraud-usda-doj-randy-c…/
By way of disclosure, Jim is a longtime member of Cornucopia's Board of Advisors. Caleb, Megan & Jim

Row Over Organic Label

Support the news Row Over Organic Label48:22Copy the code below to embed the WBUR audio player on your sitePlayJune 09, 2005This article is more than 14 years old.Organic food is big business — $13 billion dollars a year and growing at 20 percent annually. Now, a battle is brewing between big agri…


Source

Posted on

As major meat processors buckle under Covid-19 crisis, busy smaller competitors fight red tape

MENDING THE BROKEN FOOD CHAIN MEANS OVERHAULING RED-TAPE-OBSTACLES. Compared to relatively simple fruits and vegetables the need for the processing step adds a serious complication for livestock farmers getting their wares to consumers.
In Aroostook County, a local group of farmers tried for YEARS to establish a moderate-scale slaughter facility but in the end were not successful in overcoming the mass of challenges.
Meat monopolies have utilized – and fueled – government red tape for decades under the guise of concocted fake 'Hygiene' rules to consolidate the industry and eliminate competition.
Thirty years ago a friend built from the ground up a local slaughter house across the road from his house. He sought critical "USDA-Inspection" certyification and incorporated into his facility the required shower stall for the USDA inspector. What he didn't understand was that he was also REQUIRED to have built a SECOND shower stall for himself. He never did receive USDA credentialing so he was never allowed to package cuts of meats so that farmers could retail their meat to consumers.
For no good reason USDA is unmovable and that fact needs to change. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"Unlike their larger competitors, though, many smaller meat-processing plants in the United States report brisk business. These small- and mid-sized processors face some of the same workplace challenges as the big processors. But the real obstacle that’s preventing ranchers and farmers that utilize these facilities from supplying more meat to more Americans is an outdated federal law that props up the large processors while preventing local meat producers from selling steaks, roasts, and other cuts of meat to consumers in grocery stores, at farmers’ markets, and elsewhere in their communities."

As major meat processors buckle under Covid-19 crisis, busy smaller competitors fight red tape

America's independent meat processors could pick up lost capacity when large packers close. But federal meat-inspection laws are standing in the way.


Source

Posted on

Maine Farms Welcome A Surge In CSA Membership Sales

MAINE FAMILY FARMS EXPERIENCING BIG JUMP IN DEMAND AMID PANDEMIC. Intersting on-the-ground report from Maine Public Radio documenting the shift underway as Maine residents increasingly seek out a direct relationship with farmers and food.
Organic family farmers are responding to the need and adapting how they serve the public. On every family farmer's mind is the question 'How long will the elevated interest continue'? Caleb, Megan & Jim

"With the depletion of certain items on grocery store shelves and the disruption to the supply chain, there is one thing the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted, and that is the importance of locally grown food. In Maine and around the country, small farms in particular are seeing a surge of interest in what they have to offer, and membership sales in community supported agriculture are especially attractive right now.

"At Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus, Jill Agnew starts up her tractor to tend to her fields that are about to be planted. Ever since the pandemic struck Maine in March, Agnew says that sales at her farm stand have been brisk, and memberships in her CSA have doubled. That is a program in which customers buy shares in the organic meat and produce that she raises, and then they pick it up on a weekly basis…

"At Little Ridge Farm in Lisbon Falls, owner and farmer Keena Tracy started an online ordering system called Farm Drop for the first time this year, in which customers can select items from 16 local vendors, pay for it ahead of time and pick it up on Fridays. Customer turnout, she says, has been incredible.

"'We were doubling every week, and now we have started to plateau, but we're at about anywhere between 70 and 90 customers every week, and we're selling over $5000 worth of product every week.'"

Maine Farms Welcome A Surge In CSA Membership Sales

With the depletion of certain items on grocery store shelves and the disruption to the supply chain, there is one thing the coronavirus pandemic has


Source

Posted on

The Sickness in Our Food Supply

MICHAEL POLLAN FINGERS MONOPOLY CONTROL AS A FUNDAMENTAL THREAT TO OUR WEAK-KNEED FOOD SYSTEM. Instructively delving into our faltering meat system to provide clarity, food writer Michael Pollan concludes that acute market concentration may be rosy for the private profits of meat monopolies, but is a towering dilemma for both meat eaters and livestock farmers.
Thanks to Ken Kailing for sharing. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"The juxtaposition of images in the news of farmers destroying crops and dumping milk with empty supermarket shelves or hungry Americans lining up for hours at food banks tells a story of economic efficiency gone mad. Today the US actually has two separate food chains, each supplying roughly half of the market. The retail food chain links one set of farmers to grocery stores, and a second chain links a different set of farmers to institutional purchasers of food, such as restaurants, schools, and corporate offices. With the shutting down of much of the economy, as Americans stay home, this second food chain has essentially collapsed. But because of the way the industry has developed over the past several decades, it’s virtually impossible to reroute food normally sold in bulk to institutions to the retail outlets now clamoring for it. There’s still plenty of food coming from American farms, but no easy way to get it where it’s needed.

"How did we end up here? The story begins early in the Reagan administration, when the Justice Department rewrote the rules of antitrust enforcement: if a proposed merger promised to lead to greater marketplace 'efficiency'—the watchword—and wouldn’t harm the consumer, i.e., didn’t raise prices, it would be approved. (It’s worth noting that the word 'consumer' appears nowhere in the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, passed in 1890. The law sought to protect producers—including farmers—and our politics from undue concentrations of corporate power.)1 The new policy, which subsequent administrations have left in place, propelled a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the food industry. As the industry has grown steadily more concentrated since the 1980s, it has also grown much more specialized, with a tiny number of large corporations dominating each link in the supply chain…

"How did we end up here? The story begins early in the Reagan administration, when the Justice Department rewrote the rules of antitrust enforcement: if a proposed merger promised to lead to greater marketplace “efficiency”—the watchword—and wouldn’t harm the consumer, i.e., didn’t raise prices, it would be approved. (It’s worth noting that the word “consumer” appears nowhere in the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, passed in 1890. The law sought to protect producers—including farmers—and our politics from undue concentrations of corporate power.)1 The new policy, which subsequent administrations have left in place, propelled a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the food industry…

"The president and America’s meat eaters, not to mention its meat-plant workers, would never have found themselves in this predicament if not for the concentration of the meat industry, which has given us a supply chain so brittle that the closure of a single plant can cause havoc at every step, from farm to supermarket. Four companies now process more than 80 percent of beef cattle in America; another four companies process 57 percent of the hogs…

"Imagine how different the story would be if there were still tens of thousands of chicken and pig farmers bringing their animals to hundreds of regional slaughterhouses. An outbreak at any one of them would barely disturb the system; it certainly wouldn’t be front-page news. Meat would probably be more expensive, but the redundancy would render the system more resilient, making breakdowns in the national supply chain unlikely."

The Sickness in Our Food Supply

“Only when the tide goes out,” Warren Buffett observed, “do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” For our society, the Covid-19 pandemic represents an ebb tide of historic proportions, one that is laying bare vulnerabilities and inequities that in normal times have gone undiscovered. No…


Source

Posted on

Pre-sprouting and Cutting Seed Potatoes | MOTHER EARTH NEWS

A GOOD & TIMELY EXPLANATION OF HOW TO HANDLE AND CUT SEED POTATOES. Pam Dawling is an experienced farmer at Twin Oaks Community in Virginia. Fortunately for all of us, she is also a prolific and masterful writer of gardening how-to.
Once you buy organic Certified Seed Potatoes from a mail order company like ours (www.woodprairie.organic) there will some rules to follow for success.
Our 'Organic Potato Growing Guide' (https://woodprairie.com/downloads/Growing_Guide_2020.pdf) outlines all the basic steps. Pam's new article in 'The Mother Earth News' dives deep into how and when to plant. Don't miss it! Caleb, Megan & Jim

"Potatoes are a rewarding crop to grow, with a lot more flexibility about planting dates than the traditional instruction to plant on St Patrick’s Day might have you believe. If you have suddenly decided to grow potatoes this year, buy your seed potatoes asap and set them to pre-sprout (chit), while figuring out where they’re going to grow and preparing the soil. Then plant and, before they emerge, figure out what to do next…

"In the fall, frosts will kill the tops and growth will stop, so late plantings should be timed to get the tubers to maturity before the expected frost date. In central Virginia, we plant our first crop in mid-March, about four weeks before our last spring frost, and plant a second crop in mid-late June, which allows three and a half to four months before our average first frost date. We could plant any time mid-March to mid-June and harvest mature potatoes. Some late varieties do not bulk up until the last moment, so if you are pushing the late end of your planting season, plant early varieties or fingerlings. (“Early” = fast-maturing)."

Pre-sprouting and Cutting Seed Potatoes | MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Learn how pre-sprouting (chitting) seed potatoes for 2-4 weeks before planting can help you make progress while the weather is too cold to plant outdoors


Source

Posted on

Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia

A GLIMPSE INTO THE BRAVE-NEW-POST-PANDEMIC-DYSTOPIAN WORLD BEING PLANNED FOR US BY BIG TECH. To a cynic, these developments might have been predictable. Big Tech is now quickly pivoting and re-branding its aspirations for total monopoly control, "repostioned themselves as benevolent protectors of public health." Please consider this new expose' MUST READ.
Long-simmering Big Tech lust for lucrative ascendancy has now been converted into born-again health-barkering "the only possible way to pandemic-proof our lives."
Reporting in 'The Intercept'' is Naomi Kline. The link below is for Kline's interview yesterday with Amy Goodman. Caleb, Megan & Jim https://www.democracynow.org/…/naomi_klein_coronavirus_tech…
"…former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who joined the governor’s briefing to announce that he will be heading up a blue-ribbon commission to reimagine New York state’s post-Covid reality, with an emphasis on permanently integrating technology into every aspect of civic life…

"…something resembling a coherent Pandemic Shock Doctrine is beginning to emerge. Call it the 'Screen New Deal.' Far more high-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent — and highly profitable — no-touch future…

"…It’s a future that employs far fewer teachers, doctors, and drivers. It accepts no cash or credit cards (under guise of virus control) and has skeletal mass transit and far less live art. It’s a future that claims to be run on 'artificial intelligence' but is actually held together by tens of millions of anonymous workers tucked away in warehouses, data centers, content moderation mills, electronic sweatshops, lithium mines, industrial farms, meat-processing plants, and prisons, where they are left unprotected from disease and hyperexploitation. It’s a future in which our every move, our every word, our every relationship is trackable, traceable, and data-mineable by unprecedented collaborations between government and tech giants…

"…At the heart of this vision is seamless integration of government with a handful of Silicon Valley giants — with public schools, hospitals, doctor’s offices, police, and military all outsourcing (at a high cost) many of their core functions to private tech companies…

"In short, democracy — inconvenient public engagement in the designing of critical institutions and public spaces — was turning out to be the single greatest obstacle to the vision Schmidt was advancing…

"To be clear, technology is most certainly a key part of how we must protect public health in the coming months and years. The question is: Will that technology be subject to the disciplines of democracy and public oversight, or will it be rolled out in state-of-exception frenzy, without asking critical questions that will shape our lives for decades to come?"

Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia

Big tech’s emerging pandemic shock doctrine demands heavy public subsidies for a no-touch, socially distanced coronavirus future.


Source

Posted on

NEW ‘WOOD PRAIRIE SEED PIECE’ NOW POSTED ONLINE! An issue full of Farm Photos i…

NEW ‘WOOD PRAIRIE SEED PIECE’ NOW POSTED ONLINE! An issue full of Farm Photos including last week’s Big-Ten-Inch May Snowfall, Keeping Busy Shipping Organic Seed as New Interest in Gardening Skyrockets and Commencing to Frolick in Icy Cold Waters.
Our new 'Wood Prairie Seed Piece' may be found here: https://www.woodprairie.com/newsletters/051520.html
Caleb, Megan & Jim Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine
(207)429-9765
www.woodprairie.organic




Source

Posted on

Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia

A GLIMPSE INTO THE BRAVE-NEW-POST-PANDEMIC-DYSTOPIAN WORLD BEING PLANNED FOR US BY BIG TECH. To a cynic, these developments might have been predictable. Big Tech is now quickly pivoting and re-branding its aspirations for total monopoly control, "repostioned themselves as benevolent protectors of public health." Please consider this new expose' MUST READ.
Long-simmering Big Tech lust for lucrative ascendancy has now been converted into born-again health-barkering "the only possible way to pandemic-proof our lives."
Reporting in 'The Intercept'' is Naomi Kline. The link below is for Kline's interview yesterday with Amy Goodman. Caleb, Megan & Jim https://www.democracynow.org/…/naomi_klein_coronavirus_tech…

"…former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who joined the governor’s briefing to announce that he will be heading up a blue-ribbon commission to reimagine New York state’s post-Covid reality, with an emphasis on permanently integrating technology into every aspect of civic life…

"…something resembling a coherent Pandemic Shock Doctrine is beginning to emerge. Call it the 'Screen New Deal.' Far more high-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent — and highly profitable — no-touch future…

"…It’s a future that employs far fewer teachers, doctors, and drivers. It accepts no cash or credit cards (under guise of virus control) and has skeletal mass transit and far less live art. It’s a future that claims to be run on 'artificial intelligence' but is actually held together by tens of millions of anonymous workers tucked away in warehouses, data centers, content moderation mills, electronic sweatshops, lithium mines, industrial farms, meat-processing plants, and prisons, where they are left unprotected from disease and hyperexploitation. It’s a future in which our every move, our every word, our every relationship is trackable, traceable, and data-mineable by unprecedented collaborations between government and tech giants…

"…At the heart of this vision is seamless integration of government with a handful of Silicon Valley giants — with public schools, hospitals, doctor’s offices, police, and military all outsourcing (at a high cost) many of their core functions to private tech companies…

"In short, democracy — inconvenient public engagement in the designing of critical institutions and public spaces — was turning out to be the single greatest obstacle to the vision Schmidt was advancing…

"To be clear, technology is most certainly a key part of how we must protect public health in the coming months and years. The question is: Will that technology be subject to the disciplines of democracy and public oversight, or will it be rolled out in state-of-exception frenzy, without asking critical questions that will shape our lives for decades to come?"

Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia

Big tech’s emerging pandemic shock doctrine demands heavy public subsidies for a no-touch, socially distanced coronavirus future.


Source

Posted on

Jupiter has a spooky new look in this sharp infrared photo

TEAM EFFORT CREATED THIS BRAND NEW INFRARED IMAGE OF THE PLANET JUPITER. Now, scientists working together – combining ingenuity with technology – have created this remarkably clear image of Jupiter. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"If you think understanding and predicting Earth’s weather is a doozy, Jupiter’s is quite literally a raging nightmare. Scientists have known for a while that the gas giant is characterized by powerful lightning strikes and enormous storm systems, but understanding what goes on in finer detail has been a challenge.

"To create this captivating shot, researchers used images taken by the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii from nine different angles and combined them using a technique known as 'lucky imaging.' The researchers first combined 38 images each from those nine different spots…By selecting and combining only the clearest images from each of the nine angles, the researchers were able to create one, near-perfect image of the distant planet…"

Jupiter has a spooky new look in this sharp infrared photo

By studying infrared images of Jupiter, together with other images taken by the Juno spacecraft and the Hubble telescope, scientists hope to better understand the furious weather patterns that make this beautiful planet so unique.


Source