We hope everyone’s January has been a pleasant one, offering us a little bit of snow to enjoy.
** Special note for our Garrison pickup members! As you know, we have changed this season’s distribution day to Friday. Recently, we have heard from a few of you that Friday is less convenient than Wednesday was. Since some of you have already signed up, we can’t switch without a consensus. Please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would sign up for a Wednesday pick up and not a Friday. We genuinely want to make this work for everyone.**
We are excited to report that our seed orders are in! This season, you’ll be seeing many of the excellent vegetables, herbs and flowers you received in 2011, with a few changes in varieties. We enjoyed spending many hours exploring our seed catalogs, and can’t wait for the awaited packages to arrive.
We’ve jumped into our crop planning, with great advice from Erin and Sam, who refined their techniques over their 3 years with the CSA. It’s interesting to work within Jay and Polly Armour’s system of no-till raised permanent beds, because we can plant more per row than other farms who must consider the configurations of their tractor-run weeding and planting implements. Our soil and compost’s high nutrient density also allows us to pack in a little more than many other farms. We’re also able to plant in quick succession; when a bed of spinach is all harvested, for instance, we can go in right away and plant something else the same day! So, we can really do a lot with the acres that we get to work with.
Zooming out from soil chemistry, the organic farming community is abuzz with the upcoming hearing in the big lawsuit over Monsanto’s transgenic/GMO seed: Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) vs. Monsanto. Some of you might know that Monsanto has developed patented transgenic seeds over the years, which are seeds that cannot be saved and replanted next season, an act that is fundamental to farming! On top of that, Monsanto charges top dollar for these seeds, such as BT Corn or Round Up Ready. Well, naturally, since the wind has a habit of blowing every now and then, of course farmers unwittingly end up with their neighbors’ transgenic stuff on their land. That’s bad enough, especially for organic farmers who can lose their certification, but Monsanto has gone over the top and actually sued those farmers for patent infringement! It started in 1998, when a canola farmer in Saskatchewan Province named Percy Schmeiser was sued by Monsanto after Round Up Ready canola seed blew into his fields. Since then, 144 farmers have been dragged into court by Monsanto and 700 others have settled with the beastly company out-of-court. This aggression on the part of such a powerful agri-giant cannot stand, which is why we thank OSGATA, et al, for their work in preserving farmers’ rights to grow and save their seeds without fear of being trampled by a greedy monstrosity like Monsanto. Next Tuesday is an initial hearing in the case in NYC, with a support rally happening beforehand. Read more about it here: http://www.osgata.org/osgata-press-releasesgo http://www.osgata.org/osgata-press-releasesgo
All the Best!
Wes and Bryn