And Now for Some Good News!

The positive transformation of our world isn’t finished, but change is occurring, bit by important and inspirational bit. Below you’ll find two cool things I’ve seen this week:

1) Finally, a Billboard That Creates Drinkable Water Out of Thin Air:

2) A note from and video interview of author Jim Gerritsen, President of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association:

Dear Friends Attending the Justice Begins with Seeds Conference,

The demands of our farming in Maine prevent me from being with you today. We do join you in the belief that justice is necessary for lasting change, most especially as it relates to seed.

We make our living growing organic seed. We have been farming organically on our Wood Prairie Farm in Maine for 37 years. We live and follow the belief that everyone in the organic community has an obligation to help grow and protect our community.

I would like to update you on two important recent developments which I am involved with.

I serve as President of the national membership organization, OSGATA – the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. We are lead Plaintiff in OSGATA et al v. Monsanto, a landmark federal lawsuit filed in March 2011 which challenges the validity of Monsanto’s transgenic seed patents and seeks Court protection for family farmers who through no fault of their own may become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented seed technology and then – perversely – be accused of patent infringement. Monsanto has sought to deny our access to the Court by asserting legal arguments that we lack standing. We have not yet been given the opportunity to present our lawsuit’s legal arguments. We feel we have a strong case.

In June, the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC, issued a complicated ruling on our Appeal of Dismissal. The three-judge Appeals Court upheld dismissal of OSGATA v Monsanto. However, the ruling provided a significant partial victory for us, when the Court ordered Monsanto, through estoppal, to NOT sue farmers for patent infringement should they encounter trace GE contamination. The estoppel protects EVERY farmer in the United States – not just those in our Plaintiff group.

So American farmers for the first time in history have gained a new critical legal protection. As a result, farmers now may choose to sue Monsanto to recover damages in a contamination incident without the fear of being inflicted with a counter suit asserting patent infringement.

The second update I want to provide is about Right-to-Know GMO labeling in New England. California Prop 37 laid an important foundation which New England has built upon. Connecticut passed the nation’s first Right-to-Know GMO Label law in June. Maine followed in short order. We expect Vermont to pass their GMO label law next January and after that, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

In Maine, we built a successful coalition of Tea Party Republicans and Democrats to pass our GMO label bill. A statewide poll showed 91% of Mainers favored passing a GMO label law. Out of our legislative body of 186 members, we had 123 co-sponsors to our bill. Maine’s effective grassroots campaign resulted in significant tallies. In the end the Maine House voted for passage 141-4 and the Maine Senate 35-0. Our Tea Party Governor Paul LePage has promised he will sign the bill into law when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

When it comes to fighting GE crops there is work ahead of us. But we have momentum on our side and that fact will help you pass Washington’s I-522 initiative.

Jim Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Farm, Bridgewater, Maine

P.S. The link below is a recent video interview (5:50) taken on our farm which provides background about our OSGATA et al v Monsanto lawsuit.

Jim Gerritsen Interview, Maine 13 June 2013 from Mathieu Asselin on Vimeo.

“Ever since the commercial introduction of its Genetically Modified Seeds in 1996, Monsanto has launched intense persecution against hundreds of farmers and seed dealers in the US and Canada alone, blaming patent infringement of their GMO seeds in what seems to be their drive for a complete control of crops.

Like Jim Gerritsen and his family, hundreds of farmers, organizations, activists and citizens around the world are fighting Monsanto Corporation policies every day.
They work to ensure the rights of consumers and to hold corporations accountable for their actions.
As consumers, our every day choices are the best weapons we have.”

©Mathieu Asselin 2013

4 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for sharing the Jim Gerritsen letter from Good Food Web!



  2. Posted by Sonja Verway on August 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Laura

    What do you know about the hype on the Planet X supposedly heading our way this month?. I am not buying into this stuff usually, but it sounds serious.?



  3. This just in from a reader via the Contact page:

    More good news…Breaking News: 400 Farmers in the Philippines have stormed and destroyed the field tests of Monsanto’s GM Golden Rice in order to stop commercialization of the crop:



  4. You’re welcome, David. Thanks for all you’re doing!

    @ Sonja, I haven’t really been giving it much attention. We’re in a period in which soooo many things are vying to topple outmoded systems and unsustainable ways of trashing this planet that it’s less a question of what than when. Something’s coming. The challenge is to get enough systems in place and shift enough of our ways of engaging with Nature and each other that whatever comes hits as a softer blow, because we’ve already begun the necessary changes.

    It’s kind of like when I see potential health crises all congregating around someone who refuses to allow certain soul based desires to take form in his or her life. If that person continues to refuse to allow even incremental changes in the preferred direction, then “Fate” will come along and force the issue. It will be whatever it takes to manifest the conditions that will finally tip things in the favor of change. … Or the illness or accident will take them out if they refuse to change.

    Individuals and humanity still have options. The future isn’t set in stone, but status quo is not gonna cut it. 🙂



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