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Mainers take power into their own hands at consumer-owned utility hearing

LEARNING FROM OTHERS' POSITIVE EXPERIENCE AND CHARTING NEW COURSES WHICH PUT PEOPLE FIRST. Mainers pay some of the highest rates anywhere for grid power electricity. Statistically, Maine leads the 50 States in LEAST-reliable electricity. Where we come from, that's no bargain!
Toss in knee-jerk opposition to renewable energy and "climate obstructionism" by our foreign-owned mega-corporate-utilities and you'll see why Maine is paying particularly close attention to ally Rep. Seth Berry's proposal to create a new statewide consumer-owned public utility.
Nearby, Houlton's electricity needs are provided by community-owned Houlton Water Company – which operate under a model similar to Rep. Berry's bill – and their power bills half of what the rest of us pay. Jim

"Fighting to free themselves from Central Maine Power (CMP) and Emera’s stranglehold and to win the race against climate change, Mainers speaking at a public hearing at the State House on Tuesday called for the transition to a statewide consumer-owned utility.

"The bill, LD 1646, introduced by Rep. Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham) and heard before the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, would allow Maine’s government to purchase the grid infrastructure owned by CMP and Emera, which proponents say would put power and accountability into the hands of rate-payers…

“'For many of us, we have reached a point of no return,' said Jefferson resident Stacy Bettencourt, 'where the bills are so high that we are constantly being forced to question how a utility bill that just a few years ago was costing $85 a month is now approaching $300 or $400 a month with no apparent or understandable change in household structure or usage'"…

"…Berry estimates Maine Power Delivery would actually reduce annual costs to Maine customers and businesses by as much as $325 million per year…"

Mainers take power into their own hands at consumer-owned utility hearing

Fighting to free themselves from Central Maine Power (CMP) and Emera’s stranglehold and to win the race against climate change, Mainers speaking at a public hearing at the State House on Tuesday called for the transition to a statewide consumer-owned utility. The bill, LD 1646, introduced by R


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NEW 'WOOD PRAIRIE SEED PIECE' e-NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE! Ultra-Infor…

NEW 'WOOD PRAIRIE SEED PIECE' e-NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE! Ultra-Informed John Ikerd Hints at Hard Times & Solutions for American Family Farms Plus Industrial Ag’s Latest Fraud, Timely Tales & Photos from a Cool Maine Spring, an Offer for FREE Organic Dark Red Norland Potatoes, a Delicious Recipe for ‘Maple Nut Squares' and More!
http://woodprairiefarm.com/newsletters/051719.html
Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine
(207)429-9765 www.woodprairie.organic




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NIH study finds heavily processed foods cause overeating and weight gain

NEW NIH STUDY: YET ANOTHER NAIL-IN-THE-COFFIN FOR 'HEAVILY PROCESSED' FOOD. Yesterday, the National Institute of Health released its study of a "tightly controlled experiment."
The research identified causality and showed "People eating ultra-processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than when they ate a minimally processed diet."
Allowing Industrial Ag and Big Food to continue to control our food system with their highly-profitable junk food agenda comes at great and untenable cost to our families, to society and to our obese economy. Jim

"People eating ultra-processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than when they ate a minimally processed diet, according to results from a National Institutes of Health study. The difference occurred even though meals provided to the volunteers in both the ultra-processed and minimally processed diets had the same number of calories and macronutrients…

"This system considers foods 'ultra-processed' if they have ingredients predominantly found in industrial food manufacturing, such as hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, flavoring agents, and emulsifiers.

"Previous observational studies looking at large groups of people had shown associations between diets high in processed foods and health problems. But, because none of the past studies randomly assigned people to eat specific foods and then measured the results, scientists could not say for sure whether the processed foods were a problem on their own, or whether people eating them had health problems for other reasons, such as a lack of access to fresh foods.

"'Though we examined a small group, results from this tightly controlled experiment showed a clear and consistent difference between the two diets,' said Kevin D. Hall, Ph.D., an NIDDK senior investigator and the study’s lead author. 'This is the first study to demonstrate causality — that ultra-processed foods cause people to eat too many calories and gain weight.'"

NIH study finds heavily processed foods cause overeating and weight gain

Small-scale trial is the first randomized, controlled research of its kind.


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Organic food is more popular than ever in Denmark

GOOD NEWS STORY: ORGANIC FOOD IS BOOMING IN DENMARK. Hats off to the Danes for prizing the high nutrition and environmental benefits derived from organic farming.
Our week-long tour of organic farms and mills in Denmark in 2010 confirmed that citizens adore organic farmers – with rock-star-status – and organic's stellar protection of the environment (http://www.mofga.org/…/The-Maine-Organi…/Spring-2011/Denmark).
We learned the Danish national government has vision and in a commitment to DOUBLE organic production in just ten years was actively investing in critical support infrastructure (including dedicated organic universities, dedicated organic experiment stations and dedicated organic crop advisors).
Imagine for a moment if instead of being an agency under capture by self-serving Industrial Ag – and exhibiting an enduring hatred of organic – our USDA instead followed the lofty example of Denmark and placed the public interest first with a genuine commitment to grow organic farming.
Here's a glimpse which simply converts Danish stats and superimposes them onto America's scale (converting Kroners to Dollars and credits the 57x increase of the USA's 327 Million population to Denmark's 5.75 Million):
1) USA Organic Total Food Sales would be over $85 Billion – DOUBLE what they are now.
2) The subset of USA Organic Fruits and Vegetables would be over $28 Billion – OVER 70% HIGHER than our current $16.5 Billion (2017 figures).
What's more, the Danish government is investing 1.1 Billion Kroner in 2018-2019 to help Danish farmers convert to organic production. Again, converting to American values, this would be the equivalent of USDA spending $7.2 Billion to get America off the chemical treadmill and commit to a bright, organic future. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"Fruit and vegetables are particularly popular as part of a general growth in organic sales, according to new Statistics Denmark figures.

"Total sales of organic food produce increased by 14 percent between 2017 and 2018, reaching a value of 12.9 billion kroner.

"That means Denmark remains the country with the world’s highest proportion of organic food sales.

"'This is evidence that Danish farmers are able to convert to what consumers want, regardless of the type of production in demand,' Kirsten Lund Jensen, head of organic with the Danish Agriculture & Food Council (DAFC), told Ritzau…

"DAFC says that Danish producers are keen to meet the demand for organic amongst consumers by expanding their organic production, or by converting from non-organic…"

Organic food is more popular than ever in Denmark

Consumers in Danish stores are filling their shopping baskets with an increasing amount of organic produce.


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Logging bill can help correct a long history of injustice in Maine woods

MAINE LOGGERS WOULD FINALLY RECEIVE ECONOMIC JUSTICE UNDER PROPOSED LEGISLATION. Our friend, Allagash logger Troy Jackson, is a Senator from Northern Maine, President of the Maine Senate and author of Maine LD 1459, which would for the FIRST TIME EVER give independent Maine contract loggers the legal right to collectively bargain for fair compensation.
Maine loggers have been exploited for generations and since loggers deserve justice, this bill deserves passage. Mainers please call you Legislators TODAY (https://legislature.maine.gov/senat…/find-your-state-senator).
This article provides excellent and concise background on Maine logger history. It is written by Dr. Jason Newton of Cornell who is writing a book on the history of loggers in the Northeast. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"For more than 150 years, the loggers who made Maine forest products have been denied a fair share of the profit they produce. This is because many loggers were categorized as 'independent contractors.' 'Contracting out' is a tactic that companies use to cut costs and prevent unionization, but in Maine this practice has a long history that voters and legislators should consider.

"Much of their income they drew from the woods, most identified as farmers, not wage working loggers. Wage working was connected with dependence and slavery in the early republic.

"Into the 19th century, 'farmer-loggers' continued to be enticed by the allure of independents. When competition from the West made most commercial farming in Maine unprofitable, thousands of farmers became financially dependent on the contracts they made with mills and landowners, thus becoming independent contractors…

"…During World War II, Maine established a program that brought Canadian loggers into the state to work temporarily. Mills and landowners tried to make Canadians into contractors when possible, sometimes employing Canadian families who lived in shacks on company land. In 1947, a Great Northern Paper company official wrote that: 'If a contract can be drawn that will make these shackers independent contractors we will be able to relieve ourselves of a great deal of responsibility and will be able to produce wood much cheaper.'"

Logging bill can help correct a long history of injustice in Maine woods

For more than 150 years, the loggers who made Maine forest products have been denied a fair share of the profit they produce.


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Monsanto hit with staggering $2 billion verdict in Roundup cancer suit

BREAKING NEWS! MONSANTO HIT WITH 'STAGGERING' $2 BILLION GUILTY VERDICT IN ROUNDUP-CANCER-LAWSUIT #3. In the third Roundup-Cancer trial (13,400 more to go), yet another outraged jury – the third in a row – has found Monsanto guilty and financially liable for a California couple's serious health problems.
For decades Monsanto's greed-driven empire has deployed high-powered PR operatives to spread its fairy-dust-hokum about 'serving mankind.' Tellingly, Monsanto has utilized strings-attached-largess to have its way with bought-and-paid-for regulators and members of both the Executive and Legislative branches. Now, Monsanto''s ill will is catching up with them.
Citizen-juries have heard enough and are acting swiftly and decisively to mightily hold Monsanto accountable for its malevolent avarice and self-serving behavior.
It's high time for justice. Deadly 'Roundup' herbicide should immediately be pulled from the market.
Monsanto reminds us, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Jim

"An Oakland jury awarded a staggering $2 billion-plus in damages Monday to a Bay Area couple who both came down with cancer after spraying Monsanto Co.’s widely used Roundup weed killer on their properties for more than 30 years…

"The couple’s lawsuit was among the first of more than 13,000 cases nationwide to go to trial against the agrochemical giant. Monsanto denies that Roundup is dangerous and notes that it has been repeatedly found safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency…

"The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as a probable cause of human cancer in 2015, but it remains legal in the United States and Europe…

"'Juries informed by independent science have repeatedly rejected the Monsanto-promoted myth that glyphosate poses no cancer risks,' Nathan Donley, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, said Monday.

"Lawyers for the Pilliods and other plaintiffs offered evidence that Monsanto was in close contact with the Environmental Protection Agency while the government studied glyphosate. They accused the company of 'ghost-writing' scientific studies presented to the federal agency and with working alongside the EPA to undermine the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s criticism.

"In asking the jury for $1 billion in punitive damages last week, plaintiffs’ attorney Brent Wisner said Monsanto makes $892 million a year in profit, and that a huge sum was needed to 'punish the company for 45 years of lying to the public.'"

Monsanto hit with staggering $2 billion verdict in Roundup cancer suit

An Oakland jury finds that Monsanto Co.’s widely used Roundup weed killer caused a husband and wife in their 70s to come down with cancer and awards them more than $2 billion in damages — the third such verdict in the nation, all in the Bay Area.


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POTATO HOUSE ROW, CARIBOU,MAINE. Circa 1949. Individually-owned, this long con…

POTATO HOUSE ROW, CARIBOU,MAINE. Circa 1949. Individually-owned, this long connected row of potato storages, known locally as "Potato Houses" is in "The Potato Empire" of Aroostook County, Maine.
Each potato house was separated from its neighbor by a foot-thick concrete wall which minimized risk of catastrophic fires.
It was common for such a string of potato houses to have been positioned alongside a railroad siding. However, no tracks are visible in this photo.
Aroostook County pioneered the use of highly-efficient cedar potato barrels, banded together by hand-shaved ash hoops ("huups," rhymes with books).
Each 11-peck barrel held 165 pounds of potatoes, and barrels were the universal standard unit of measure in Maine's potato industry.
Seed potato growers planned on needing 20 barrels of seed per acre. A hard-to-achieve goal for most farmers was to grow 200 barrels per acre (33,000 pounds or 330 "bags" or cwt). In the Fall, 'Hand Pickers' were paid piece-rate by the barrel.
And of course, the farmers' fate was reliant upon the sale of Aroostook County's annual massive potato crop. Each deal was negotiated as a price of dollars per barrel. Jim




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Wendell Berry Is Not a Prophet

WENDELL BERRY IS A WISE ELDER FOR ALL OF AMERICA. While he is a farmer, Wendell's wisdom serves to enlighten all of humankind and not just other farmers.
Granted, those of us who 40 years ago read his landmark work, "The Unsettling of America," gained a spot-on prescient crystal ball view into the now accelerating corporate takeover of agriculture.
This piece about Wendell in 'Modern Farmer' from 18 months ago is something we can all enjoy on this Mother's Day.
The coming end of the Fossil-Fuel era may hold big surprises for centralized Industrial Ag, the pendulum may once again swing, and family farmers may regain their rightful places as champions for community. Caleb, Megan & Jim https://truthout.org/…/as-capitalism-fails-we-need-a-roadm…/

"WENDELL BERRY CELEBRATED his 83rd birthday in August. He is old. But not so old that he can’t kick and spit and fight every force that threatens to destroy his way of life and, thus, his worldview. 'What I stand for is what I stand on,' the seventh-generation Kentucky farmer and urgently prolific scribe wrote in 1980. And, indeed, Berry returns again and again to his hometown of Port Royal (Port William in his fiction). By pledging allegiance to all things local, he has brought global attention to the plight of fragile rural economies and the importance of sustainable agriculture."

Wendell Berry Is Not a Prophet

At 83, America's beloved farmer-philosopher still has plenty to say about how our disregard for the past points us in a destructive direction.


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Maine Becomes First State In America To Ban Single-Use Styrofoam Containers

STATE OF MAINE BANS STYROFOAM CONTAINERS. Maine has become the first State in the nation to Ban single-use Styrofoam containers. Other States are also toying with the idea.
So, Maine continues with its reputation as a longtime environmental leader. It was forty-two years ago that Maine banned highway billboards in a successful effort to go after visual pollution (Vermont passed the first billboard ban in 1968). Caleb, Megan & Jim

'While that cup of coffee may be finished, the Styrofoam cup it was in is not,' Mills said in a statement. “In fact, it will be around for decades to come and eventually it will break down into particles, polluting our environment, hurting our wildlife, and even detrimentally impacting our economy'…

"Environmental groups hailed the measure, saying it solidified the state’s reputation as a leader on green causes. Mills has taken a hard line on climate change as well, proposing a 27-member panel of experts this week to help the state dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"'Maine has proven itself as an environmental leader once again, this time in eliminating disposable foam containers that have become a common, costly, and deadly form of plastic pollution,' Sarah Lakeman, a sustainability director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said in a statement. 'We need to be doing everything possible to limit our use and better manage our single-use plastics ― starting with eliminating the use of unnecessary foams like plastic foam.'"

Maine Becomes First State In America To Ban Single-Use Styrofoam Containers

The measure was hailed by environmental groups, which called the products "unnecessary" and harmful to the planet.


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White House Has “Monsanto’s Back on Pesticides,” Newly Revealed Document Says – U.S. Right to Know

INTERNAL MONSANTO DOCUMENTS EXPOSED IN COURT REVEAL A DARK WHITE HOUSE BROMANCE WITH MONSANTO AND A 'WIDENING RIFT' BETWEEN GOVERNMENT STAFF SCIENTISTS AND POLITICAL-APPOINTEE-LEADERS. Lovey-dovey White House treatment of DowDupont and its ban-worthy 'Chlorpyrifos' has close parallels to the sweetheart romance with Monsanto and its deadly 'Roundup.' The Court revelations were from from Roundup Trial #3 in which California 'Roundup' cancer victims Alva & Alberta Polliod are seeking justice.
Additionally, the docs reveal a 'widening rift' between government scientists – and their scientific research – in MULTIPLE Federal agencies and their agenda-driven political leaders. Jim

"Internal Monsanto records just filed in court show that a corporate intelligence group hired to 'to take the temperature on current regulatory attitudes for glyphosate' reported that the White House could be counted on to defend the company’s Roundup herbicides…

"'A domestic policy adviser at the White House said, for instance: ‘We have Monsanto’s back on pesticides regulation. We are prepared to go toe-to-toe on any disputes they may have with, for example, the EU. Monsanto need not fear any additional regulation from this administration.'

"In the email accompanying the report, Hakluyt’s Nick Banner told Rands the information related to issues both for the United States and for China. The report notes that 'professional' staff has 'sharp' disagreement with 'political' staff on some areas, but that the concerns of some of the professional staffers would not get in the way…

"'The way the EPA under the Trump administration has handled Chlorpyrifos might be instructive in how it would handle new science or new developments related to glyphosate'…

"According to the Hakluyt report, an official with the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs said: 'There is growing unease in this office at what seems like scientific intransigence by Monsanto to give credibility to any evidence that doesn’t fit their view. We would agree with them that such evidence is non-conclusive, but that does not mean that it is without basis.'"

White House Has “Monsanto’s Back on Pesticides,” Newly Revealed Document Says – U.S. Right to Know

Internal Monsanto records just filed in court show that a corporate intelligence group hired to “to take the temperature on current regulatory attitudes for glyphosate” reported that the White House could be counted on to defend the company’s Roundup herbicides. In a report attached to a July …


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