Daily Archives: November 1, 2009

How can Canada “outlaw” a potato?

This excerpt is from The Tyee where the story, by Joanne Will, was titled “The Potato Underground”:

Mug shot of the outlaw potato in question.

“When Jerry LeBourdais learned that big agribusiness couldn’t handle the Cariboo potato, he knew he’d found a variety that he wanted to support. The name didn’t hurt either. If there was a potato out there named “Cariboo,” it had a natural home on the back-to-the-land commune near Williams Lake that LeBourdais had founded.

All he needed was some seed. It sounded simple enough.

“Jerry wanted to get a hold of some, and asked me where,” recalls John Ryser, a prize-winning seed potato farmer who lives south of Prince George. Ryser told him it wouldn’t be easy, because the potato had been decertified for seed production in 1976. By the time LeBourdais came calling in 1983, the Cariboo spud had been banned for seven years and Ryser had given up growing the variety.

“I kept the Cariboo going for years,” says Ryser. “The big cheeses de-listed it because it would hang on to the vines.” Government officials may prohibit varieties for reasons ranging from disease susceptibility to a tendency to snarl farm equipment; industrial potato farmers want plants that harvest easily with machinery. “Once a variety is de-listed, if you grow it, they’ll cancel your seed grower’s licence.” Continue reading

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Raw Milk Crackdown — first Georgia, now Wisconsin, in regulatory crosshairs

Here’s the latest on the situation from David E. Gumpert, on The Complete Patient blog. This excerpt is from a post titled “Buyers Club Crackdown Continues: WI Moves on 5th Amendment Rights Illustrate Need for Clarity on Raw Milk“:

Raw milk consumers in Athens Georgia, forced to dump their milk. *

“The buyers club crackdown, which saw members of a Georgia buyers club being forced to pour out their own milk, has now moved to Wisconsin. There, Max Kane, the head of the Belle’s Lunchbox buyers club that supplies raw milk customers in Chicago, has a court date December 21 to tell a judge why he shouldn’t answer questions from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.

The Wisconsin DATCP previously subpoenaed Max Kane last spring, seeking information about the buyers club. He showed up at the session with copies of the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions, and protested that he wouldn’t testify in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self incrimination. Continue reading

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