Farmers stage pitchfork protest over absurd fines for hosting birthday party

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: farmers, protest, birthday party

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(NaturalNews) Dozens of Virginia farmers are up in arms after one of their neighbors was targeted by county officials for holding a birthday party and produce fair on her own property. Martha Boneta, owner of Liberty Farms in the northern Virginia village of Paris, has been threatened with up to $5,000 in fines for selling things like homespun yarn and birdhouses, along with farm-fresh produce, during a recent birthday party she held for her friend's 10-year-old daughter.

Fauquier County Zoning Administrator Kimberly Johnson ( reportedly sent Boneta a cease-and-desist letter not long after the seasoned farmer held the birthday party at her farm back in April. The letter demanded that Boneta obtain special permits to sell the fruits of her own labor on her own property, or else face multiple fines totaling roughly $5,000.

Boneta had already obtained the appropriate permits last year; however, which allow her to sell produce and crafts at her retail farm store in accordance with the law. But since Fauquier County apparently made a few quiet adjustments to its regulatory guidelines since that time, Johnson and her colleagues at the Board of Zoning claim that Boneta is technically in violation of these supposed laws.

Boneta responded by challenging these ridiculous allegations, of course, as did many of her neighbors who showed up at a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing on August 2 with pitchforks in hand. According to The Blaze, Boneta ultimately lost the appeal, but she plans to file another one in the very near future. In the meantime, Boneta has shut down her farm stand while she prepares for the upcoming harvest, and is collaborating with her neighbors and supporters about how to proceed.

"It's rather odd that I'm the only farmer in the county having these issues," said Boneta to FOX News. Boneta believes that a disgruntled neighbor filed a complaint with the county, which prompted county officials to launch a crusade against her. "It's customary to do these things. It's done on farms throughout Virginia to help farming and agriculture. Why would I need a permit for a pumpkin carving?"

Government on a mission to destroy the American family farm

It used to be that such incidents were isolated and unusual. Sadly, such blatant tyranny is becoming the norm, as local, state, and federal officials in government positions increasingly elevate themselves above the people for whom they technically work. Rather than serve the interests of the people whose tax dollars pay their salaries, government bureaucrats are constantly on the prowl looking for new ways to extort more money from the public, and control the private affairs of honest citizens.

Just within the last year, there have been dozens of known incidents where government officials have targeted family farmers, home gardeners, and even private food cooperatives with threats of fines or elimination if they failed to kowtow to demands. These incidents include the forced destruction of a resident's medicinal garden in Oklahoma (, the raid on a backyard dinner party in Nevada (, and the excessive abuse of a backyard farmer in Georgia that led to his eventual suicide. (

If the American people fail to step up now and put a stop to this madness, it will only continue to intensify and become more frequent. It is times like these when the famous quote by Martin Niemoller, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, comes to remembrance, as it is a sobering reminder of how important it is for American citizens to stand up a defend not only our own rights, but also the rights of our friends and neighbors:

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Trade Unionists.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me."

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