We all have dreams and aspirations of what we want to be when we grow up. Most of us will change our minds many times over and then end up doing something completely different. A few lucky people KNOW what they want to do and actually realize their dreams. This week we will be following one such dreamer, a little girl who always wanted to be a farmer, to grow food, raise animals and feed her community. Growing up she imagined planting rows and rows of different vegetables and harvesting beautiful tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, melons, strawberries, raising bees and harvesting honey, collecting big baskets of eggs, big ones, little ones in a rainbow of colors; brown ones and white ones and lavender ones. She planned on teaching the kids all about farming and the miracle of growing good, healthy food. She aspired to be a productive and vital part of her community and she always intended to be a great steward of the land she loves.
The little dreamer grew up and bought a small family farm where she happily planted her crops, raised her animals, harvested honey and happily did all the things farm chores that she always she planned on doing. But all was not as rosy as she had hoped for. The heavy hand and abuses of a local environmental council reared its ugly head right from the very beginning and, in concert with the local municipal government, started making life and the once happy dream of farming a living nightmare.
Martha Boneta joins us On The Commons this week. Martha is the little girl who grew up to be a farmer. Along with the joy of growing farm fresh fruit and vegetables, producing eggs and honey and herbs and sharing her love of the land with her animals and all who visit, Martha has had to fight to protect her right to farm her land. Despite the fact that Virginia is a “right to farm” state, local county supervisors have joined forces with the council members on a local Land Trust to try to shut her down. After several law suits and tireless lobbying at the State level, Martha got, what has become known as the Martha Boneta Bill, passed into law. But that was just the beginning. Martha recently inspired her fellow Virginians to rally in RIchmond to put an end to what can only be described as harassment and abuse of power by an environmental council. Join us to learn about some of the most outrageous behavior of this group and the humiliation, embarrassment and horror Martha and her family have endured.