Fauquier County officials forced family farmer Martha Boneta to cease selling produce from her own 64-acre farm, and so she took action and had Commonwealth law changed...
Fauquier County Virginia officials threatened a family farmer, Martha Boneta with $5,000 per-day fines for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls without a permit...
By Bonner Cohen, Ph. D. March 31, 2014
In a hard-fought and stunning victory for family farmers and property rights throughout the Commonwealth, Gov. Terry McAuliffe on March 5 signed into law legislation solidifying Virginia’s status as a right-to-farm state by limiting local officials’ ability to interfere with normal agricultural operations.
The governor’s signature marks the latest chapter in a swirling controversy that attracted nationwide attention in 2012 when the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors forced family farmer Martha Boneta to cease selling produce from her own 64-acre farm. No longer allowed to sell the vegetables she had harvested, Boneta donated the food to local charities lest it go to waste.
Fauquier County officials threatened Boneta with $5,000 per-day fines for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls without a permit, and advertising pumpkin carvings. Seeing the county’s action against Boneta as a brazen effort to drive her off her land, Virginians from all walks of life rallied to her defense. Supporters gathered in Warrenton, the county seat, for a peaceful “pitchfork protest” to vent their anger over what an out-of-control local government had done to a law-abiding citizen....
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