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This photograph was published in ‘Life’ magazine and shows Grandmother preparing to make butter with a barrel churn, as Granddaughter plays with a cat. The upright galvanized water tank was plumbed into the wood cook stove and provided a ready supply of hot water for the extended family. Jim & Megan


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This week ‘The Nation’ dug into the story of Industrial Ag breaking down the gates of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) and grabbing control.
Generally, it’s a good and accurate article. Francis and Emily, quoted in the article, are close and trusted allies performing Herculean work on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
However, one important point the reporter got wrong: Our group – Jim is one of fifteen members on the ‘Real Organic Program’ Standards Board which meets in Vermont later this month – is NOT abandoning the USDA Organic Label. Instead, after years in the making, we are constructing a ‘ADD-ON’ program to the NOP. Our ADD-ON program will identify honest Certified Organic family farmers whose authentic crop and livestock practices are in alignment with both organic eaters’ expectations and the spirit and the letter of the original Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) federal labeling law.
Our ADD-ON program will SUPPLEMENT the pre-requisite NOP Organic Certification. Our ADD-ON program will EXCLUDE the fake corporate factory farms which are flooding the market with bogus, illegitimate products illegally using the “organic” label.
With the help of the entire organic community, we will build a genuine alternative program and make it possible for you and your family to confidently access bona fide Certified Organic food now and into the future.
We will keep you updated. Jim & Megan…/828523286106215603/d7v2/

“‘Big business is taking over the USDA organic program,’ Thicke said, addressing his colleagues in a speech marking his retirement. ‘Because the influence of money is corroding all levels of our government’…

“‘At this point, I can see only one way to bring the organic label back in line with the original vision of organic farmers and consumers,’ Thicke said. ‘We need an add-on organic label for organic farmers who are willing to meet the expectations of discerning consumers who are demanding real organic food’…

“Emily Oakley, an Obama NOSB appointee, owns a 20-acre organic vegetable farm in Oklahoma. She said large agricultural interests are working tirelessly to sway policy.

“‘Many smaller-scale farmers are busy with the work of farming and don’t have the means to hire lobbyists to represent their interests,’ Oakley said. ‘Larger agricultural businesses do. That creates a dynamic in which the voices that are before the NOSB tend not to be smaller-scale farmers, despite the fact that they comprise a majority of certified organic farms. The organic movement has become an organic industry.'”

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This winter scene is undated but I would hazard a guess it is from the very early 1900s (notice the electric power lines).
Note the long sled loaded with barrels of potatoes between the first and second power poles.
Thanks to our friend, Steve Sutter for sharing. Jim & Megan


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Bottom line, since glyphosate gets into human bodies primarily through ingestion of conventional and GE food/beverage containing residues from Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ herbicide, women anticipating pregnancy should SWITCH NOW TO EATING ORGANIC FOOD.
Of course, persistent synthetic chemicals such as ‘Roundup’ are not needed and NOT ALLOWED in organic farming.
Following the clearly established pattern of attack and intimidation, we can now expect these courageous scientists to suffer the full wrath of malevolent Monsanto for daring to tell the truth as revealed by their research.
Yet another nail in Monsanto’s coffin. GLYPHOSATE MUST BE BANNED IMMEDIATELY. Jim

“The mean age of participants was 29 years, and the majority were Caucasian. Ninety three percent of the pregnant women had GLY levels above the limit of detection (0.1 ng/mL). Mean urinary GLY was 3.40 ng/mL (range 0.5–7.20 ng/mL). Higher GLY levels were found in women who lived in rural areas (p = 0.02), and in those who consumed > 24 oz. of caffeinated beverages per day (p = 0.004). None of the drinking water samples had detectable GLY levels. We observed no correlations with fetal growth indicators such as birth weight percentile and head circumference. However, higher GLY urine levels were significantly correlated with shortened gestational lengths (r = − 0.28, p = 0.02).

“This is the first study of GLY exposure in US pregnant women using urine specimens as a direct measure of exposure. We found that > 90% of pregnant women had detectable GLY levels and that these levels correlated significantly with shortened pregnancy lengths. Although our study cohort was small and regional and had limited racial/ethnic diversity, it provides direct evidence of maternal GLY exposure and a significant correlation with shortened pregnancy.”

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It sure looks that way. If so, the plundering of the world’s second largest aquifer by a conniving-consortium of mega mega multinational corporations like Nestle’ and Coca Cola would be in DIRECT DEFIANCE of the Public Trust Doctrine – going back to Roman Times – which states government lacks authority to privatize (sell) critical assets within the Commons.…/mary-wood%E2%80%99s-crusade-reinvi…
Warning! Here’s a video (6:24) you’ll want to be sitting down when you watch Nestle’s elitist zombie-like CEO relating his self-serving God-complex view of the world which includes denial of the human right to water plus his dissing of organic. Jim

“A concerted push is underway in South America that could see one of the world’s largest reserves of fresh water soon fall into the hands of transnational corporations such as Coca-Cola and Nestle. According to reports, talks to privatize the Guarani Aquifer – a vast subterranean water reserve lying beneath Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay – have already reached an advanced stage. The deal would grant a consortium of U.S. and Europe-based conglomerates exclusive rights to the aquifer that would last over 100 years.

“Named after the Guarani indigenous people, the Guarani Aquifer is the world’s second largest underground water reserve and is estimated to be capable of sustainably providing the world’s population with drinking water for up to 200 years. Environmental groups, social movements, and land defenders warn that the exploitation of the freshwater reserve could see the 460,000-square mile (1.2 million sq. km.) reservoir sacrificed for the short-term profits of agribusiness, energy, and food-and-drink giants.”

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As the chart below indicates, organic is growing in leaps and bounds in the State of Maine.
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardener’s Assn (MOFGA) certifies as Organic about 540 operations, over 450 of those are farms. Certified Organic farms represents 5.5% of all Maine farms.
The largest Organic Certifier in the United States is CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) and they certify 2300 farmers. Assuming for the moment all of CCOF’s certified farms are in California, Maine has 6x the number of Certified Organic farmers per capita as does California. If Maine’s population were to suddenly burgeon to that of California – Heaven Forbid! – and we maintained our proportion of organic farms, Maine would have 13,500 Certified Organic farms, or over 30 organic farmers per Maine Township. Jim


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Regardless of one’s opinion about WFM, this distressing story does offer a good teachable glimpse into rough waters ahead.
The somber reality is that many family farmers – for many decades – have found farm stability and safe harbor by selling to Whole Foods. And similarly, many earnest eaters have sought out good food for their families by shopping at WFM.
Our advice for families: develop a relationship with an honest, local Certified Organic farmer and join a buying club or bricks & mortar retail Co-op for needs local farmers can’t provide. Jim, Caleb & Megan

“Whole Foods, which had been AtlantaFresh’s main customer for over a decade, turned out to be both generous patron and cruel master—an industry power broker that helped vault AtlantaFresh from regional specialty to national brand, and ultimately helped ensure its demise. But the dairy’s ruin probably wasn’t about Marks’s product, its pricing, or our appetite for grass-fed milk. It was a matter of bad timing: Whole Foods is undergoing a major shift in its corporate culture, as it moves its sourcing away from regional suppliers and starts focusing more on a centralized purchasing model.”

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Results from a major new poll were released today which reveal the VAST MAJORITY OF FARMERS ARE VERY CONCERNED OVER THE PROPOSED MONSANTO MERGER.…/poll-farmers-overwhelmingly-oppose-bayer…/
Existing Anti-Trust laws need to be enforced and the Monsanto-Bayer merger blocked. A valuable white paper has been written which fleshes out Farmer-Poll results. Bottom line: ratcheted-up Monsanto monopoly control is bad for America. Jim…/2018-FINAL-White-Paper-with-PAN-3-7-2018.p…

“‘This survey underscores what we’ve been hearing from our farm family members for decades – that overwhelming consolidation has substantially eliminated competition in the marketplace. Four or five firms dictate the prices that farmers pay for their inputs. Family farmers deserve fair prices, choices in what they plant, and the type of market competition that incentivizes firms to compete and innovate for their business. A Bayer-Monsanto merger stands to move each of these factors in the wrong direction, and that is away from competitive markets. Our survey makes it pretty clear that farmers want the merger blocked,’ said Roger Johnson, President of National Farmers Union.”

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NEW MAP VISUALLY DEPICTS WALMART’S JOB DOMINANCE ACROSS AMERICA. The map shows the largest private employer in all 50 States.

This map begs the question, how much of rural America’s economic angst and frustration correlates with the ascendancy of low wage employer Walmart?
Economists have explained Maine’s position as the ‘oldest State’ is not so much because we have so many older people as that we have so few younger people.
Could there be a parallel that has Walmart dominating because of job shortfalls in rural America? Jim

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A new study in the journal ‘Emotion’ provides reassurance that the most of us who are NOT rich don’t necessarily enjoy LESS happiness. However, our happiness comes in ways different from the rich. Jim

“After all, they wrote, people with money are more insulated from social and environmental threats. That gives them the luxury of being able to focus on their own “internal states and goals” instead of having to worry about other people.

“Those who inhabit the lower classes, on the other hand, often find themselves at the mercy of others. They may be more vulnerable to crime, for instance, or may be forced to send their children to underfunded schools. In their case, the researchers wrote, the best coping strategy is to muddle through together. That requires them to focus on other people instead of just themselves…

“The survey probed people’s happiness by asking about seven distinct positive emotions: amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love and pride. Each emotion was described in a concise sentence, and survey-takers used a 7-point scale to show how much they agreed or disagreed with the statement…

“On the other hand, people with less money were more likely than their richer counterparts to agree with statements that indicated compassion (‘Nurturing others gives me a warm feeling inside’), love (‘I develop strong emotions toward people I can rely on’) and awe (‘I often feel awe’).”