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Little Peace Farm Blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 4/29/2011 7:28am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  Weather-wise, this spring season has been difficult to say the least.  We have had a very tough time getting into the fields because of the extremely wet conditions.  Everyone from hay farmers to crop and vegetable farmers haven't been able to plant.  A fellow farmer in Kutztown told me yesterday that he had between 2 and 3 inches of rain where we onlyhad half an inch.  On the way to Lancaster yesterday, Emily told me that entire fields of vegetables under row cover were completely submerged in water.  On Easter Sunday we went to my family's home in Chester County and we saw not a single plowed field between here and there. 

Fortunately we are not as dependent on heavy equipment to get things done as we are pretty low-tech.  But you still can't prepare beds or plant in mud!  I was able to get the following in the ground: red beets, radish, salad mix, peas, cilantro, head lettuces, pac choi, kale, shallots, bunching garlic, and spinach.  We've already seen critter damage as I planted the same bed three times and fed the deer and bunnies some nice organic seedlings!  I've tansplanted the first tomatoes in the hophouse and am ready to plant some more next week.  We have cabbages ready to plant as well a ton of onion and leek varieties.

We're just about done prepping the strawberries of which we lost a lot this winter.  They should be ready to harvest by the end of May.  I just ordered another 2500 plants for planting within the next couple of weeks.  I also received two varieties of raspberry and one variety of thornless blackberry plants.  We are considering offering pick-your-own next year so stay tuned!  We're buying a new flock of laying hens to replace our current birds at the end of May so we'll have eggs all season long! 

So the season is in full swing but has been stalled at the same time by weather.  We will be continuing our greens sales here at the farm until the CSA and market season begins the first week in June.  So stay tuned.  Hope all are well.  Do good things...Peace.

The Scheidels

Posted 4/15/2011 7:36pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  The following is a concise summary of why the organic industry should say NO to GMO (Monsanto and others "franken-food").  I thought some of you and hopefully most of you would appreciate.  Enjoy

Ten Good Reasons Why GMO's Are Not Compatible With Organic Agriculture

By Jim Riddle


Despite fundamental differences in what they represent, there are occasional calls to allow the use of genetic engineering  (which produces genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs) within the USDA National Organic Program. GMO varieties are currently most widespread in corn, soybean, canola and cotton crops, in dairy production, and in minor ingredients, such as dairy cultures, used in food processing, but new products are being introduced and commercialized. 

Here are 10 essential points that I believe show why GMOs are incompatible with organic production:

1. Basic science. Humans have a complex digestive system, populated with flora, fauna, and enzymes that have evolved over millennia to recognize and break down foods found in nature to make nutrients available to feed the human body. GMO crops and foods are comprised of novel genetic constructs which have never before been part of the human diet and may not be recognized by the intestinal system as digestible food, leading to the possible relationship between genetic engineering and a dramatic increase in food allergies, obesity, diabetes, and other food-related diseases, which have all dramatically increased correlated to the introduction of GMO crops and foods.

2. Ecological impact. Organic agriculture is based on the fundamental principle of building and maintaining healthy soil, aquatic, and terrestrial ecosystems. Since the introduction of GMOs, there has been a dramatic decline in the populations of Monarch butterflies, black swallowtails, lacewings, and caddisflies, and there may be a relationship between genetic engineering and colony collapse in honeybees. GMO crops, including toxic Bt corn residues, have been shown to persist in soils and negatively impact soil ecosystems. Genetically modified rBST (recombinant bovine somatrotropin, injected to enhance a cow’s milk output) has documented negative impacts on the health and well being of dairy cattle, which is a direct contradiction to organic livestock requirements.

3. Control vs harmony.  Organic agriculture is based on the establishment of a harmonious relationship with the agricultural ecosystem by farming in harmony with nature. Genetic engineering is based on the exact opposite -- an attempt to control nature at its most intimate level - the genetic code, creating organisms that have never previously existed in nature.

4. Unpredictable consequences.
  Organic ag is based on a precautionary approach - know the ecological and human health consequences, as best possible, before allowing the use of a practice or input in organic production. Since introduction, genetic modification of agricultural crops has been shown to have numerous unpredicted consequences, at the macro level, and at the genetic level. Altered genetic sequences have now been shown to be unstable, producing unpredicted and unknown outcomes.

5. Transparency. Organic is based on full disclosure, traceability, information sharing, seed saving and public engagement. Commercial genetic engineering is based on secrecy, absence of labeling, and proprietary genetic patents for corporate profits. The "substantial equivalence" regulatory framework has allowed the GMO industry to move forward without the benefit of rigorous, transparent scientific inquiry. The absence of labels has allowed genetically modified products into the U.S. food supply without the public's knowledge or engagement., and without the ability to track public health benefits. 

6. Accountability.  Organic farmers must comply with NOP requirements and establish buffer zones to protect organic crops from contamination and from contact with prohibited substances, including genetically engineered seeds and pollen. Genetically engineered crops do not respect property lines and cause harm to organic and non-GMO producers through “genetic trespass,” with no required containment or accountability.

7. Unnecessary. It is well established that healthy soils produce healthy crops, healthy animals, and healthy people. Research and development should focus on agricultural methods, including organic, which recycle nutrients to build soil health, producing abundant yields of nutrient dense foods, while protecting environmental resources. To date, recombinant genetic modification has contributed to the development of herbicide-resistant weeds and an increase in the application of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, with associated increases in soil erosion and water contamination, while producing foods with lower nutritional content. Technologies, such as genetic engineering, which foster moncropping are not compatible with organic systems, where soil-building crop rotations are required.

8. Genetic diversity. Organic farmers are required to maintain or improve the biological and genetic diversity of their operations. Genetic modification has the exact opposite effect by narrowing the gene pool and is focused on mono-cropping GMO varieties.

9. Not profitable. According to the 2008 Organic Production Survey conducted by the USDA National Ag Statistics Service, organic farmers netted more than $20,000 per farm over expenses, compared to conventional farmers. Use of GMO varieties has lowered the net profit per acre for conventional producers, forcing them to farm more land in order to stay in business. 

10. No consumer demand. Consumers are not calling for organic foods to be genetically engineered. In fact, over 275,000 people said “no GMOs in organic,” in response to the first proposed organic rule in 1997. “Organic” is the only federally regulated food label, which prohibits the use of genetic engineering. By genetically engineering organic foods, consumer choice would be eliminated, in the absence of mandatory labeling of all GMO foods.

Jim Riddle is an organic farmer who was an organic inspector for 20 years. He was founding chair of the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA), served on the National Organic Standards Board from 2001-2006 (chair in 2005-06). He currently works as Organic Outreach Coordinator for the University of Minnesota and has written authoritatively on organic issues many times on this website. The views expressed are those of the author.
Posted 4/7/2011 8:42pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  Thank you to all who ordered last week.  It was a good way to meet some new folks and see some "old" friends.  We will be having a sale again next week.  Pick up will be Tuesday April 12th from 4-6 p.m. here at the farm.  See our website for directions if needed.   ORDERS MUST BE EMAILED TO US NO LATER THAN MONDAY MORNING AT 8 A.M.  See the list below:

-spinach(half pound) $3.50
-mesculin(half pound) $3.75
-parsnip-$2/lb.
-bunched swiss chard-$2.25/bunch

We will also have assorted sustainably produced raw milk cheeses, hoophouse grown tulip bouquets, and our eggs available for purchase.  These items are not pre-order; they are first come, first served.   We are truly blessed to be doing what we are doing and we hope you are blessed by our labors too!  Peace.

Little Peace Farm
Posted 4/1/2011 12:18pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  We are having a greens sale next week and will likely continue on a weekly basis until the market and CSA season begin.  Please place your orders no later than 8:00 a.m. Monday, April 4th.  Pick up will be here at the farm between 4 and 6 the following day, Tuesday, April 5th. 

CHEESE: We are considering carrying a few sustainably made products this year that we don't produce ourselves.  One of them is raw cheese.  We will have some available for pick up on Tuesday.  This raw cheese if produced from a small herd in Franklin Co.  The farmers use sustainable practices and mostly pasture their animals. The next sale will include cheese from another more local farm (I'm feeling out both farms to decide whose cheese cuts the mustard!). 

See the list below for greens and cheese will be available first come/first served here at the farm. 

-spinach-half pound bags-$3.50
-baby kale-half pound bags-$3.50
-mesculin mix-half pound bags; includes: spinach, kale, tatsoi, red mustard, chervil, baby swiss chard, arugula...$3.75
-parsnips(these were wintered in the ground and are ready for digging)$2/lb.

The cheese will be priced by weight and are packaged in about 10 oz. packages.  Varieties include: cheddar, sharp cheddar, smoked cheddar, smoked jalapeno, horseradish, italian spice, baby swiss, and some others. 

Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday!  Peace.

OH, ONE MORE THING, I GOT TWO VARIETIES OF PEAS PLANTED TWO WEEKS AGO SO HOPEFULLY WE WILL BE MUNCHING ON THEM BY EARLY JUNE!

MS
LPF
Posted 3/29/2011 8:36pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  I subscribe to Wood Prairie's newsletter and here was their latest.  They are true organic patriots and are defending all of our right to good, CLEAN food, free from transgenic modification.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this article.  I certainly did.  Peace.
ms
lpf


Organic Community Files Suit Against Monsanto Challenging GMO Patents


                                                                  No Monsanto. Our sound Wood Prairie policy.

     Society stands on the precipice of forever being bound to transgenic agriculture and transgenic food. Coexistence between transgenic seed and organic seed is impossible because transgenic seed contaminates and eventually overcomes organic seed. History has already shown this, as soon after transgenic seed for canola was introduced, organic canola became virtually extinct as a result of transgenic seed contamination. Organic corn, soybean, cotton, sugar beet and alfalfa now face the same fate, as transgenic seed has been released for each of those crops, too. And transgenic seed is being developed for many other crops, thus putting the future of all food, and indeed all agriculture, at stake.

    So began the text of a lawsuit filed earlier today in United States District Court in Manhatten. On behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed suit today  (http://www.pubpat.org/assets/files/seed/OSGATA-v-Monsanto-Complaint.pdf) against Monsanto Company to challenge the chemical giant's patents on genetically modified seed. The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified seed, something Monsanto has done to others in the past.
      The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge Naomi Buchwald. Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad array of family farmers, small businesses and organizations from within the organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by genetically modified seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it. The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members, including thousands of certified organic family farmers.
  Continues the Complaint, Monsanto zealously enforces its transgenic seed patents. Published reports and Monsanto’s own statements suggest that roughly 500 farmers are investigated for patent infringement each year. Between 1997 and April 2010, Monsanto filed 144 lawsuits against farmers in at least 27 different states for alleged infringement of its GM seed patents and/or breach of its license to those patents.
  "Today is Independence Day for America," said Wood Prairie Farm's Jim Gerritsen, a family farmer in Maine who raises organic seed and is President of lead plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association based in Montrose, Colorado.  "Today we are seeking protection from the Court and putting Monsanto on notice.  Monsanto's threats and abuse of family farmers stops here.  Monsanto's genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now.  Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace - to decide what kind of food they will feed their families - and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to choose.  Organic farmers have the right to raise our organic crops for our families and our customers on our farms without the threat of invasion by Monsanto's transgenetic contamination and without harassment by a reckless polluter. Beginning today, America asserts her right to justice and pure food."

The plaintiffs in the suit represented by PUBPAT are:

Agriculture Membership Organizations
- ORGANIC SEED GROWERS AND TRADE ASSOCIATION
- ORGANIC CROP IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL, INC.
- OCIA RESEARCH AND EDUCATION INC.  
- THE CORNUCOPIA INSTITUTE
- DEMETER ASSOCIATION, INC.
- NAVDANYA INTERNATIONAL
- MAINE ORGANIC FARMERS AND GARDENERS ASSOCIATION
- NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMING ASSOCIATION/MASSACHUSETTS
- NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMING ASSOCIATION OF VERMONT
- RURAL VERMONT
- OHIO ECOLOGICAL FOOD & FARM ASSOCIATION 
- SOUTHEAST IOWA ORGANIC ASSOCIATION
- NORTHERN PLAINS SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE SOCIETY
- MENDOCINO ORGANIC NETWORK
- NORTHEAST ORGANIC DAIRY PRODUCERS ALLIANCE
- CANADIAN ORGANIC GROWERS
- FAMILY FARMER SEED COOPERATIVE
- SUSTAINABLE LIVING SYSTEMS
- GLOBAL ORGANIC ALLIANCE
- FOOD DEMOCRACY NOW!
- FAMILY FARM DEFENDERS INC.
- FARM-TO-CONSUMER LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

Seed Companies
- FEDCO SEEDS INC.
- ADAPTIVE SEEDS, LLC
- SOW TRUE SEED
- SOUTHERN EXPOSURE SEED EXCHANGE
- MUMM'S SPROUTING SEEDS
- BAKER CREEK HEIRLOOM SEED CO., LLC
- COMSTOCK, FERRE & CO., LLC
- SEEDKEEPERS, LLC
- SISKIYOU SEEDS
- COUNTRYSIDE ORGANICS
- CUATRO PUERTAS
- INTERLAKE FORAGE SEEDS LTD.

Organic and Traditional Farms and Farmers
- ALBA RANCH (Northeastern Kansas)
- WILD PLUM FARM (Dixon, Montana)
- GRATITUDE GARDENS (Concrete, Washington)
- RICHARD EVERETT FARM, LLC (Scottsbluff, Nebraska)
- PHILADELPHIA COMMUNITY FARM, INC, (Osceola, Wisconsin)
- GENESIS FARM (Blairstown, New Jersey)
- CHISPAS FARMS LLC (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
- KIRSCHENMANN FAMILY FARMS INC. (South Central, North Dakota)
- MIDHEAVEN FARMS (Park Rapids, Minnesota)
- KOSKAN FARMS (Wood, South Dakota)
- CALIFORNIA CLOVERLEAF FARMS (Merced County, California)
- NORTH OUTBACK (Wales, North Dakota)
- TAYLOR FARMS, INC. (Tremonton, Utah)
- JARDIN DEL ALMA (Monticello, New Mexico)
- RON GARGASZ ORGANIC FARMS (Volant, Pennsylvania)
- ABUNDANT ACRES (Laclede County, Missouri)
- T & D WILLEY FARMS (Madera, California)
- QUINELLA RANCH (Saskatchwan, Canada)
- NATURE'S WAY FARM LTD. (Alberta, Canada)
- LEVKE AND PETER EGGERS FARM (Alberta, Canada)
- FREY VINEYARDS, LTD. (California)
- BRYCE STEPHENS (Jennings, Kansas)
- CHUCK NOBLE (South Dakota)
- LARHEA PEPPER (O'Donnell, Texas)
- PAUL ROMERO (Espanola, New Mexico)
- DONALD WRIGHT PATTERSON, JR. (Fauquier County, Virginia)

Here is the description of lead plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association taken from the Complaint as filed today.

     Plaintiff ORGANIC SEED GROWERS AND TRADE ASSOCIATION is a not for profit agricultural organization that develops, protects and promotes the organic seed trade and its growers, and assures that the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed, free of contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture. See http://www.osgata.org/. Organic farmers require quality organic seed in order to maximize the overall integrity and success of their organic system. Organic seed systems face risks from transgenic contamination. The growth and development of a vibrant organic seed trade will result in seed systems suited to the ecological, economic, local, and sustainable challenges and needs of organic farming. OSGATA policy states that transgenic contamination of organic seed constitutes irreparable harm to the organic seed industry and that it undermines the integrity of organic seed and that any detectable level is unacceptable. OSGATA's membership is comprised of organic farmers who produce seed crops, organic seed breeders, organic seed companies, and affiliate organizations. OSGATA brings this action on behalf of its forty members, some of whom are at risk of being contaminated by Defendants' transgenic seed and consequently being sued by Defendants for patent infringement.

To read text of the Complaint including descriptions of the other fifty-nine plaintiffs please click this link from our website.

     We promise to keep you informed of all developments in this historic lawsuit through posts on our Facebook page, our Wood Prairie blog and this Seed Piece newsletter. We will continue to work with our allies on your behalf to stop GMOs and to assure that our right to pure food for our families is recognized and upheld. Jim & Megan.
Posted 3/21/2011 6:46am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  Well, at 7:21 yesterday evening, spring officially fell upon us and it looks like the perfect weather for the change.  We haven't experienced any deep freezing nights for a couple of weeks now, robins have been all over the place and a couple of days ago we caught our first snake near the pond.  With the help of some great workers we also managed to completely dismantle the corn crib that had littered one of our fields.  Now it is open for a pasture!  The greenhouse is up and running and I'm experimenting with a heated compost manure bunker in it to augment propane heat.  Each year I add a couple of implements necessary to run the farm and it looks like I'm close to the goal of having the tools I need this season.  We are planning farm events for our members and are working on the out buildings to get them ready for CSA pick up and general operation.

The recent showings of the film FRESH were a success this weekend with one showing in Auburn and one in Pottsville.  We are considering another showing in the area so stay tuned!  This film really energized me as a producer to forge ahead with plans for our growth to feed people SAFE AND FRESH FOOD!!!  I believe it also encouraged folks in attendance to begin asking the questions "Where does my food come from, how is it produced and do I agree with the way it is produced?"  As consumers, we have choices about what we put in our bodies and those choices can impact policy and the market place.  

We have shares available but are way ahead of where we've been any other year so continue to spread the word about our CSA and thank you for supporting the growers of YOUR food!  We hope all are well.  Peace.

Michael, Emily and kids

Little Peace Farm

Posted 3/10/2011 5:36pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  I'm soaked.  Even under the cover of our new greenhouse I got soaked today doing some seeding, mostly from walking to and from the barn and house.  This rain has saturated the already saturated ground and made a mess of the construction site for our new greenhouse.  To see a video of the project check click here.  Special thanks to Rich M. for his help wiring up.  All of our onion and leeks have germinated well and are already being cut back to encourage more growth.  Also germinated are spinach, swiss chard, several varieties of cut flowers, and the next batch of microgreens for the restaurants.  Today I seeded the following: arugula, pac choi, mixed kale, collard greens, four varieties of lettuce, more flowers, and tomatoes that will be grown in our unheated hoophouse.  About every week now for the next 4 or 5 months we'll be seeding new flats.  Even amidst all of this rain we're excited to see some new growth.  Anyway, enjoy the video and we hope all are well.  Keep spreading the word as we still have shares available for our CSA.  Peace.

ms

lpf

Posted 3/8/2011 6:44am by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  I wanted to invite you to come see the film Fresh with us on Friday, March 18th or Saturday, March 19th.  The details for each event are listed below.  This is a film about our broken food system but it is not necessarily gloom and doom.  The alternatives highlighted in the film are uplifting and encouraging.  Even as our government continues to place more restrictions on small family farms in the name of food safety, the local food movement continues to grow.  We really hope you can come out to enjoy the film and share your (food, pot-luck!) time and thoughts on the film.  Please contact Wayne Herring Jr. if you are interested in attending the first event and me if you are interested in coming to the event in Pottsville.  Peace.
ms
lpf

FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.  Visit www.freshthemovie.com for more information about the film.


FIRST SHOWING

When:  March 18, doors open at 5:30, dinner at 6:00, movie at 7:00

Where: St. Paul’s UCC, Summer Hill (about 2 miles east of Rte 183 on Summer Hill Road near Lake Wynonah and Summit Station)

Who to contact:  Email wayneh@warrantys.com for more information

Afterwards we are going to be joined by Leah Zerbe, Online Editor for Rodale.com and Michael Scheidel, owner of Little Peace Farm for discussion and Q&A.  Cost to attend will be $3 per person or $5 per couple or family.  Any extra proceeds over and above $100 will be donated to St. Paul’s UCC.  Movie is appropriate for most kids, but is not necessarily a “kids movie” as it is a 70 minute documentary. For tickets or for more information or email wayneh@warrantys.com .

SECOND SHOWING

When:  March 19, doors open at 6:00 for pot-luck dinner, film begins at 7:00, panel discussion following

Where: St. John the Baptist Church Pottsville, Longinus Hall

Cost:  $3 per person or $5 per family

Why:  Because what we eat matters!

RSVP To: Michael Scheidel by phone (570)739-1808 or e-mail littlepeacecsa@yahoo.com

Join us for the pot luck (bring a dish) or just for the film.  Young children will be entertained by St. John’s Youth Group.  Ticket price goes toward the cost of the license to show the film.  Any money above the cost of the film will be donated to St. John’s Youth Group. 

Posted 3/3/2011 5:16pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey folks.  I wanted to share this photo with you.  Chef Jon Fegley from the Pottsville Club made this Salmon Cake dish withour micro greens.

 

Chef Jon Fegley from the Pottsville Club latest creation with our own Micro Greens

Posted 3/2/2011 6:32pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  I am seeking help with a farm project that is long overdue.  If you have been here you have seen the corn crib that collapsed last winter (two weeks before we settled on buying!).  I am dismantling it and need some help.  One of our members has offered to bring his skid loader over but we need a few more hands.  We will be removing the shingles from the roof and then the loader can get to work.  I already tore off the tin roof and recycled it and I am going to repurpose some of the lumber and the rest will be burned on site.  Please let me know if anyone can help.  The work will involve heavy lifting, lots of sharp nails, and possibly some blisters but it will also include a home made lunch with the Scheidel family (be warned, it is not always a pretty sight!!!).  Thanks in advance and let me know as soon as possible so we can plan.  Thanks for being the "C" in Community Supported Agriculture!  Peace.
ms
lpf