Earthquake at our Farm – at the Epicenter!

Our seed farm and office are located just outside the town of Mineral, Virginia, the epicenter of today’s earthquake! One map we’ve seen places the epicenter just 1.5 miles away from us.

No one’s hurt and all our buildings appear to be fine, except for some possible minor damage to chimneys.
A few broken jars is the extent of the damage to our inventory, and there’s a fair amount of clutter from things falling in the office.

The North Anna nuclear power plant (less than 10 miles away) shut down automatically, and they say there is no damage. We’re watching for updates as it’s inspected!

The phone lines have been in and out, but during the aftershocks, most of us didn’t want to be inside, even to answer the phone. And we felt quite a few aftershocks! Some of us, after coming back inside (to call relatives, clean up, etc.) ran out a couple of times again with the aftershocks.

We’ve been putting things back in place, such as scattered seed packets, and getting back to life as usual – while bracing for the hurricane that’s supposed to hit our region on Saturday.

Thanks to all who have e-mailed and called to check on how we’re doing. We enjoyed seeing everyone at our farm for last Saturday’s tomato tasting, and we’re glad that wasn’t when the earthquake hit!

Take action against genetic modification.

Here are some steps you can take against genetic modification:

Boycott GMO crops – don’t buy products containing corn, soy, canola, cotton, sugar or alfalfa, unless you know these ingredients are non-GMO. This is a huge step! It means boycotting most non-organic, mass-produced, processed foods. If that’s too daunting, try taking small steps. For example, eliminate foods that are high in GMO oils, such as cottonseed and vegetable oils. Boycotting GMOs will likely lead you to buy fresher food and eat a healthier diet.

Call food manufacturers and ask if ingredients in their products are GMO. Let them know you care! Some large chains’ phone numbers are listed on http://www.nwrage.org/content/contact-company

Bring the GMO issue up in supermarkets, cafeterias, and restaurants. When an employee you talk to in person can’t answer your questions, you can write them down and request that they be passed on to management.

Many of the organizations we link to have political action updates related to various GMO battles. Check these websites for the latest campaigns – write to your politicians and spread the word.

Tell your friends, co-workers, and family about the lawsuit against Monsanto, the risks of GMOs, and what you’re doing to avoid GMOs.

Write a letter to the editor or an op-ed for your local paper or an agricultural publication.

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You might also be able to contribute in one or more of the following ways.

If you work in a food co-op, restaurant, school, or any institution that has a cafeteria, see what you can do to reduce or eliminate GMOs from the food that is sold there. Then tell your customers what progress you’ve made, and why you chose to do this.

If you teach on a related subject, let your classes know about the risks of GMOs and the current lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association vs. Monsanto.

If you are a farmer or a market gardener, tell your customers, extension agents, and other farmers and gardeners why you don’t grow GMOs.

Offer to volunteer with an organization addressing GMO concerns. You might be able to contribute to with research, website development, community organizing and outreach, or events. The possibilities are endless.

If GMO crops have made your life harder, we want to know! Your story could be useful in showing that GMOs are harmful to society. Write to Don Patterson at pae...@aol.com with your experiences.

If you or an organization you work for has information relevant to this case, look into the possibility of filing an Amicus brief, a.k.a. a “Friend of the Court” brief. We don’t want to inundate the court with them, but quality points in Amicus briefs can be very valuable. You can contact Sabrina Hassan at Has...@PubPat.org for further information.

If you know of an event where a speaker on the topic of this suit would be welcomed, pass the information on to Don Patterson at pae...@aol.com

Courts rule organic farmers can sue over contamination by pesticides and herbicides

Exciting news from Minnesota!  Last Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that damaging chemicals that cross property lines constitute trespassing.  The Star Tribune reports on it here.  This is great news, meaning that organic farmers can sue if negligent conventional and GMO farmers contaminate and thus destroy their organic crops via drifting clouds of pesticides and herbicides and possibly even GMO pollen or seed.

This follows a few months after California’s Sixth Appellate District Court ruled in December that Jacobs Farm/Del Cobo could sue a neighboring farm whose pesticides drifted over and covered an organic dill crop, making it unsalable.  Read the story here.

It will be interesting to see how these rulings affects the case against Monsanto that we’re a part of as it goes forward.  Stay tuned…

Saving the Past for the Future