Explore Coverage

Living Maxwell


Positive News for Organics…..from Minnesota

Last week, the organic movement got some very positive news from a Minnesota Courtroom.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that chemicals that drift onto a neighboring organic farm is a form of trespassing. Why is this ruling so important?

Let me explain the whole story….


Oluf and Debra Johnson are organic farmers in Minnesota. In the past, a neighboring farm, Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Company, sprayed chemicals on their own property on windy days that ended up on the farm of the Johnsons.

Since synthetic pesticides are forbidden on organic farms, the Johnsons lost their organic certification and had to sell their crops as non-organic and at lower prices.

Well, the Johnson’s complained to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for 10 years and sued in a District Court but to no avail. The court ruled that particulate matter could not trespass.

How does this make any sense? How can this neighboring farm have no responsibility for damaging someone else’s property?

To me, it doesn’t all.

A Higher Court Has Common Sense

Fortunately, the Johnsons refused to give up and took their case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

There, Judge Kevin Ross said that the District Court was completely misguided and ruled in the Johnson’s favor. He cited rulings in cases from other states and said that the chemicals did, in fact, trespass.

Ulaf and Debra Johnson can now sue for damages when the case goes back to District Court.

I am very happy to see that common sense prevailed and that the rights of these organic farmers are being fairly protected.


If you have not seen Food, Inc. and The Future of Food, please do so.

Both of these movies expose the injustice of organic farms being contaminated by GMO seeds and then these organic farmers get sued by Monsanto, even though they have done nothing wrong.

It is very similar to the pesticide case above but much, much worse.

Earlier this March, a coalition of organic farmers and agricultural groups filed a preemptive lawsuit against Monsanto so as to protect themselves if they ever get contaminated in the future. This case is still pending.

What all of the above points to is that organic is under constant attack and we all need to come together to support it.

Let’s make the labeling of genetically-modified food a 2012 presidential campaign issue. Please sign-up at Right2Know March and get involved. We need all of the help that we can get.

Thanks so much for your support and interest.

A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink