Pitchfork-wielding Virginia farmers rallied to support a woman who claims local officials came down on her for, among other things, hosting a children’s birthday party on her spread.
Martha Boneta, owner of Liberty Farms in the northern village of Paris, was threatened with nearly $5,000 in fines for selling produce and crafts and throwing unlicensed events, including a birthday party for her best friend’s child. She told FoxNews.com she wasn’t doing anything farmers haven’t done for generations, and at a recent zoning board meeting, her agrarian friends literally showed up with pitchforks to express their support.
“It’s rather odd that I’m the only farmer in the county having these issues,” Boneta said. “It’s customary to do these things. It’s done through on farms throughout Virginia to help farming and agriculture.”
Boneta was told that she did not have the proper event permits for the party and other events, including wine tastings, craft workshops, and pumpkin carving.
“Why I would need a permit for a pumpkin carving?” she said.
Boneta was also threatened with fines for selling produce and products not grown or made on the 70-acre farm in a small store she operated on the property. But she said she already had a special license issued to her in 2011 that allowed her to run a “retail farm shop” where at the time, she made it clear that she intended to sell handspun yarns and craft items like birdhouses in addition to fresh vegetables, eggs, and herbs.
But in the same year, the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors changed “farm sales” classification to require a special permit for activities that were previous including under the license. Fauquier County Zoning Administrator Kimberley Johnson told FoxNews.com Boneta is out of line.
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