In April, Fauquier County threatened Martha Boneta, owner of a small farm in Paris, VA, with thousands of dollars in fines for a series of alleged violations, including hosting “an event” on her farm without obtaining a special events permit.
The event? A small birthday party for the 10-year old daughter of a close friend, Robin Verity.
Martha was also cited for selling produce directly to consumers from her farm without a license. But Ms. Boneta paid for and received a county-approved business license for a “retail farm shop” in June, 2011. However, just one month later, the county Board of Supervisors approved an amendment that restricted “farm sales”, and began issuing citations to farmers in the area.
Farmers in the area believe this is a violation of Virginia’s “Right to Farm Act”, which bars governments from restricting the rights of farmers from earning a living, so they orchestrated a protest during Martha’s Board of Zoning Appeals hearing on August 2nd, 2012.
Increasing economic freedom matters to people like Martha. But it also matters to consumers everywhere who should be free to choose the foods they want and buy directly from the farm that produced them.