Imagine getting out of your warm bed early in the morning, just before the sun peeked above the horizon. You are still tired from the previous day’s work on your own small farm, but you are still excited to get started with your day. After your cup of coffee and a light breakfast, you walk outside across the wet morning grass to get your mail. When quickly skimming through the envelopes, you notice a letter from the government claiming that you were in violation of multiple regulations. It says that these violations include the sale of your own produce and hosting a birthday party for a 7-year-old girl, on your farm. This is exactly what happened to Martha Boneta.
Martha is in the business of selling farm products that were produced on her own land but the government wasn’t allowing her to sell the products. This should be a wake-up call to everyone who thinks that the government should have more power and control of our lives and property.
Farming has been commonly referred to as the backbone and heartbeat of America. It is not an easy job by any means due to the multiple and uncontrollable factors that contribute to the success or failure of a farm. Martha thought she understood all of these factors and risks when she purchased the Liberty Farm, but later came face to face with many unforeseen obstacles: the abuse of power, red tape, corruption, and miles of regulations from the government and the Piedmont Environmental Council.
The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), a non-profit land trust green group, are the ones behind this controversy. The mission statement on their website says that they are for “Promoting and protecting the natural resources, rural economy, history and beauty of the Virginia Piedmont.” Unfortunately, they are hiding behind the green label and cause in order to accomplish their own agenda of control and money. One of the ways they attempted to do this to Martha was by using the conservation easement clause in contracts, which allowed them to take control and harass land owners.
What is the take away from this?
We need to fight, protect, and defend property rights wherever and whenever they are abused. Martha is just one of many examples of abuse in our system of government.
We also need to realize that a good cause or idea can still produce detrimental results. The Piedmont Environmental Council appears to be a solid organization that fights to protect land, but many times we fail to dig deeper into the actions and means necessary to accomplish their goals.
(For more information on the Martha Boneta story, check out the Daily Signal article)