New trellis for Rosewood’s raspberries

ROSEWOOD – On Thursday evening, workers from horticultural cooperative Rosewood Fruits finished construction of a permanent trellis for Überstadt’s raspberry crop. The new structure will support the plants as they become heavy with summer fruit.

The trellising work began the previous Saturday, with the work being done intermittently until the project’s completion. The structure consists of two vertical posts with crosspieces, with wires running from one end of the hedgerow to the other. Ornamental caps for the posts remain to be installed.

King Adam has led a push for better raspberry-growing practices in the last several months, making the crop central to his agricultural policy after two consecutive years of its being the most productive plant in Überstadt. He oversaw the thinning of the berry patch’s canes in the fall, and has scheduled an application of compost in a bid to produce larger fruit this year.

Below: the new trellis in front of the Royal Residency


Record berry haul in Rosewood

BELLINGHAM, Washington – Figures released by the economy ministry indicate that this year’s harvest of berries in Rosewood’s farms was the largest recorded, with raspberries proving by far the most successful Überstadti crop.

The total mass of all crops weighed by officials over the summer was 3.1 kilos, with 2.8 kilos combined of berries. Raspberries alone accounted for nearly two-fifths of the total harvest, at more than 1.2 kilos. Other crops included blueberries, huckleberries, and strawberries, as well as snap peas. Two volunteer stalks of wheat also grew, the berries of which are now in storage.

Although the scope of agriculture in Überstadt is far too small to contribute much to meeting residents’ nutritional needs, this year has seen domestically-grown fruits play an important symbolic role in national life. Fresh, domestic produce became a common evening snack in the capital. Both wild and cultivated berries featured in popular desserts, including at the Royal Family’s celebration of the Harvest Festival.

Small-scale farming may be more significant to the country’s culture than its subsistence, but Rosewood Fruits cooperative workers are taking steps to improve next year’s raspberry yield even further. They recently properly pruned the canes for the first time, and are preparing plans for trellising and fertilization.

Überstadt joins ag pact treaty

BELLINGHAM, Washington – On Sunday night, King Adam gave assent to the International Agricultural Development Pact Treaty, an agreement forming a loose organization of states seeking to share information to develop their agricultural sectors.

The group’s foundation was led by Leylandiistan & Gurvata, and Überstadt joined at the invitation of Roseland’s premier. The pact has six founding members, all of which are in the midst of improving their domestic agriculture.

The king says that membership in this group will help Überstadti growers learn from the experiences of nations with more advanced farming operations.

Bellingham farming plan hits obstacle

BELLINGHAM, Washington – The Überstadti government’s proposal to establish an agricultural colony at Western Washington University has hit a roadblock. The community garden in which the kingdom applied for a plot has no available land.

King Adam decided last month to seek a parcel of the Outback Farm to annex as a colony and use as an agricultural center for Überstadti citizens living in Bellingham. After applying to the farm’s authorities last week for rights to a plot, he was informed that none was available. The Outback management placed him on a waiting list of applicants.

Bellingham’s Überstadti population does not need to farm for food, but all expressed an interest in working the land to grow some of their own produce. The king also noted that work done in a colony within the Outback, which only allows organic growing practices, could have helped develop more environmentally-friendly techniques to use at the farm in Rosewood.

Überstadt’s government is hopeful that it will be able to establish its farm colony in the near future, and is investigating other options for agriculture in Bellingham.

Final Rosewood crop list announced

ROSEWOOD – The Überstadti economy minister has announced the final list of this year’s crops being grown in western Rosewood.

The list includes only cultivated plants, excluding berries that grow wild elsewhere in Überstadt.

Rosewood Fruits, the kingdom’s agriculture cooperative, maintains nearly 200 square feet of garden space in the nation’s capital, the largest portion of which is the long-established vegetable garden space of the Überstadti royal familiy. This area formerly produced a wide variety of edibles.

With several failed crops in recent years, however, it is now home only of tomatoes, basil, and raspberries, the latter of which were planted despite doubts earlier this year stemming from an anticipated drought, which will probably not affect the Puget Sound lowlands directly.

The economy ministry expects two nearby blueberry bushes to yield their greatest harvest ever. In two small beds adjacent to the Royal Residency, strawberries and peas are being grown.

Yarn pricing deal reached as Doria considers exporting crafts

ROSEWOOD – Überstadt and Doria reached an agreement Tuesday on the pricing of Überstadti-dyed yarn, despite initial disagreement over the material’s value.

King Adam I and Dictator Dorian Grimes met at Überstadt’s consulate in Lynnwood, Washington to discuss the price of yarn reserved for sale to Doria for use in crochet projects.

Ms. Grimes and the king had attempted to negotiate a sale several days prior, but the Dorian leader’s initial offer was rejected as being too low when compared to value calculations reported by Überstadt’s economy ministry. These estimates were based on the price of the uncolored yarn, chemicals, and equipment used in the dyeing process, according to the king.

The consulate meeting had not been previously planned, but was instead held out of convenience, as the two leaders were already there on other business.

Following an explanation by Adam of the determination of the yarn’s value, Ms. Grimes agreed to increase her offer. After discussing the probability that the material would be used in handicrafts made for sale on the Internet, she agreed that Doria would purchase at least one skein, dyed with ivy, for $12.

Should a second skein to be dyed with onion skins appeal to the dictator after its completion, both will be purchased for a total of $20.

Immediately upon reaching an understanding, the leaders drafted and signed a communiqué detailing the agreement, which will also guide future pricing.

This deal was reached as Doria moves towards the possible establishment of an online store for selling domestic goods, mostly crocheted projects, which Dorian artisans are producing at an increasing rate. Überstadti yarn, dyed using plants, will probably be used extensively in such products offered for sale.

Drought anticipation may thwart Rosewood berry grow plan

ROSEWOOD – As snowpack remains critically low in the Cascade Mountains, anticipated water supply issues may lead to the one-year postponement of a plan to convert most agricultural land in Rosewood to berry patches.

Northwestern Rosewood has long been the agricultural center of Überstadt, but soil quality and weed problems have led to a decline in the production of traditional crops, such as zucchini and tomatoes, in recent years. On the other hand, newer plantings of assorted berries have been very successful in the last two years. The climate and soil of the Puget Sound basin are widely noted among horticulturalists as compatible with the growth of most berry vines and shrubs.

Repurposing the decades-old beds to host berries has been a popular notion for months, especially after the summertime release of agriculture data from the Ministry for the Economy indicating the major success of the expanded cluster of blueberry bushes. The proposal gained official support at the State Opening of Parliament last month, when the King endorsed it in his Speech from the Throne.

The stewards of the Royal Residency, who have legal support for their substantial influence over land use policy in Rosewood, also supported the plan, with the Baroness Rosewood being among its greatest proponents.

It may prove unfeasible to sufficiently irrigate any new shrubs, however, especially during the summer. According to the Washington Department of Ecology, the mountain snowpack which feeds the water supply of the central Puget Sound region is at 9% of its ordinary levels. As a result, municipal water prices in the area will increase and regional irrigation will probably be subject to rationing. This would make it problematically expensive to water the new plantings enough to establish them and produce fruit, even if limits on such water use were not declared.

The King has reaffirmed Überstadt’s commitment to ecological health and the wise use of resources, and has expressed his willingness to postpone the berry venture if necessary. The public at large is also very supportive of whatever action is necessary.

The issue will probably feature in Discussion Time of the February and March meetings of Parliament.

June economic report released

ROSEWOOD – The Ministry for the Economy has released its first monthly economic report for the month of June 2014, detailing the productivity of the public cooperatives under its supervision.

The report states that approximately 25.5 cups of bulk fresh produce were harvested by Rosewood Fruits in June, supplementing the diets of Überstadtis and Americans living near Rosewood. Strawberries proved the most successful crop during this period, contributing 60% of all harvested food by volume. 8 cups of snap peas were harvested, with small amounts of huckleberries and blueberries also produced.

The report also detailed the activities of Apotheker. This cooperative’s initial focus was natural medicines made from local foliage, but has recently shifted focus to natural dyes. Two successful dyeing experiments, one with fern spores and one with dandelion petals, were conducted in June, with further textile production intended for export to be completed in July.

PM: Vouchers to be abolished, organizations to be co-ops

ROSEWOOD – The Prime Minister has announced plans to abolish the Kingdom’s signature labor vouchers, which were named as a replacement for money in the October 2013 constitution. This will entail the passage of a second amendment to what is termed by some the “Socialist Constitution.”

This announcement comes amid a series of major modifications of previously-announced economic policy, including the decision that all economic organizations are to be governed as cooperatives. King Adam, the economy minister, is apparently the catalyst behind these sudden policy reversals, arguing in a cabinet meeting that these altered measures are more democratic and consistent with socialist principles.

Labor vouchers, which have existed primarily in the realm of theory, are a non-circulating means of compensating workers, whose earned credit is deleted, rather than transferred, upon making a purchase. Although ordered to replace money in the Third Constitution, ratified last November, it was only this month that the Ministry for the Economy began planning in detail their implementation.

Foreign observers have speculated in the past that Überstadt may have been the first micronation to fully transition from a capitalist economy to a socialist one via legislation, and now Prince Aaron’s government says it is attempting to make a complete transition to an economy free from any semblance of wage labor.

The decision to make all primary economic actors cooperatives, rather than the previously proposed mix of state-owned companies and private cooperatives, is closely related to the voucher proposal. Cooperatives are to be divided into public and private, with all citizens being members of the public cooperatives and participating in their governance through Parliament. King Adam stated that this will guarantee an economy “by, of, and for all our citizens, and not merely those who possess the time to acquire vouchers.”

Economy Ministry unveils economic program

ROSEWOOD – At Sunday evening’s meeting of Parliament, King Adam, in his capacity as Minister for the Economy, unveiled the Ostara Project, a program designed to jump-start the Überstadti economy this spring.

The Ostara Project gets its name from the Old High German name for the Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess Eostre, attested to by Bede and considered by some a possible root for the English name of Easter.

The project proposes a set of organization law in which economic actors are divided into private cooperatives or public companies, which are only permitted to seek monetary profit outside the Kingdom. While citizens would have to purchase companies’ goods and services with labor vouchers earned from productive activity, each cooperative would be able to decide whether to charge for its products.

Key to the proposal is the expansion of the roles of presently-existing companies and government institutions. Pharmaceutical producer Apotheker is to conduct research into more native plants with medicinal properties, while Rosewood Fruits is expanding to be responsible for most of the country’s agriculture.

A postal service is also to be established, delivering documents and packages between citizens and domestic organizations for free while charging foreigners for its courier services. An independent media cooperative is also to be created.

The King’s College, too, will commence weekly lectures and will receive funding for scientific research in the fields of biology, geology, and aeronautical engineering.

The comprehensive plan was applauded by the members of Parliament present, the March meeting of which is expected to pass laws to bring it into practice.