Friday, May 12, 2023

A Series of Unfortunate Zones

The following post is by Frederick County activist Martha Sparkman:

Our Story So Far

Some things are just too odd for words. A man buys a property with a barn, livestock fencing, and the neighbors (and the realtor) tell him the place was a mini-farm, the local ‘Farm-ette’ that the previous owner kept horses on. He starts right in, repairing multiple structural problems from pipes to insulation, and buys a couple of cows and goats for milk teaching his kids about taking care of livestock. Still working at his job and property, he makes slow and steady progress in making things more homey for his growing family. But then, after two year..

Enter the Karen

New neighbors move in, and shortly after, there’s a knock at the door. A local Zoning commission fellow asks questions, takes pictures, and tells him something no one else had. Seems that the zoning is for ‘Rural’ instead of ‘Agricultural’, and his critters are taboo. He appeals to the court, but his list of reasons for having the animals was shortened to a single sentence (out of abt 50)…by the same Zoning Guy. Why would anyone want to leave off most of a list like that? Inquiring minds want to know!) The judge looked things over and told our hero/homeowner that he had to ditch the critters.

And The Plot Thickens

Fast-forward to the next hearing. The homeowner presents his defense after the very same Zoning Guy testifies. The fact that horses were there before was not enough for the judge to rule in his favor. Apparently, ‘elite’ critters (horses) are more equal than others (lowly food producers). Whereas there was no official distinction between horses and ‘farm/agricultural animals’ under the law, that didn’t stop the judge from ditching the appeal. Oh, and he’s not allowed to know who filed the complaint in the first place! It sounded like they put this kind of reporting in the same basket/under the same heading as reports of child abuse. I never liked the idea of going down rabbit holes (with apologies to Alice), but this smells of Denmark.

Another appeal is coming. 

Question: when did we grant government the right to tell us we can't raise our own food? Yes, special interest groups are always trying try to pass laws and regulations to increase their profitability. Who looks after the little guy with a field or a barn, trying to stay away from commercially-raised and chemically enhanced food?  

You Ever Tasted Real Milk

Did you see that micro-ingredients to improve color and shelf life do not need to be listed on the labels of many commercial foods? The company adding them is responsible for certification that it is "safe". And do you know that Pharmaceutical companies are now working on GMO milk? Virginia passed a "Right to Farm" bill several years ago, but we seem to be losing ground, and people are willing to let our liberties slide and let profit come before honesty.

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