Oh, No They Didn’t! (Yes, they did)

This evening after working at my day job, I came home and began my usual afternoon catch-up of the news and events of the day.  Y’all know I don’t watch TV, so I get my news from the internet.  After reading about Romney in Israel, some story about Twitter shutting down the account of a journalist who is critical of NBC’s coverage of the Olympics and a couple of others, I saw this story from the Washington Examiner.  (Thank you, Matt Drudge.)  Read the article and prepare for a discussion.

You’ve read it?  Good.  When I first read the story, I was reminded of my hometown’s woes with our own city council.  I almost linked to a story about those council-woes, but Oh, Lord….y’all don’t really want me to chase that particular rabbit into the weeds right now.  I’ll just say that we had a problem here with a city council that was out of control, and forgetting about governing with the consent of the governed, and our fair city is paying a huge price for all their shenanigans.  In the Examiner article linked above, I’m seeing a similar thing going on.  In Fauquier County, Va. a small farming community is dealing with what looks like a local government forgetting its’ place in the scheme of things, by arbitrarily penalizing something that should, of right, be perfectly legal.

“The Virginia Right to Farm Act prohibits local authorities from treating agricultural activity as a “nuisance” — which seems to be what’s happening here, since Johnson was reportedly responding to complaints from nearby residents. Boneta already had a business license the county issued her in June 2011 that allowed her to operate a “retail farm shop” on her property. Her license application specifically noted her intention to sell handspun yarns, birdhouses, soaps and other handicrafts in addition to fresh vegetables, eggs, herbs and honey.”  From the Washington Examiner article linked above.

Now, I’m not familiar with the Virginia Right to Farm Act, but I’m gonna look it up and see what else it says.  I believe that small farmers are going to prove more important to us as a nation than the big boys like ADM, Monsanto, Dupont, etc.  Every single one of the local farmers that I know here in Alabama run their property using very sustainable methodologies.  I know the perception of Alabama in the rest of the country is that of a toothless backwater, so maybe it will come as a surprise to some to find out that rather than being resistant to trying new things, Alabama’s farmers have consistently proven to be enthusiastic and creative early-adopters of sustainable farming practices.

Okay, I guess y’all can tell that this story hit a nerve with me.  You are right, it did.  I eat a lot of locally-grown vegetables, and even some of the meats.  I like knowing the folks who grow the food that I eat, and I suspect that a lot of you reading this little post feel the same way.  An amazing amount of the green beans and squash that I consume has been grown in compost rather than fertilizer, and I like it that way.  I wish more of the fruits that I eat were grown locally.  It’s going to get to me every time I see articles like the one above that show how small farms exist in a very fragile business and political environment.  I don’t know if Alabama has a Right to Farm Act, but I’m gonna find out.  If we don’t, I wanna know why.  I’ll get back to y’all on this one.