Follow-up on foodies and farmers unite against “The Man”

The end of the story, for now, anyway.

----- Forwarded message -----
From: David Miller
Date: Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 9:35 AM
Subject: Re: Foodies and Farmers Unite Against “The Man”

It was standing room only at the Johnson County Planning and Zoning Board meeting last night. I think it is safe to say that the numbers of e-mails sent to board members and the number of people who showed up to support Susan Jutz had a lasting impression on every policy maker in the room.

It is now clear to the board and administration staff that local agriculture is changing, and is no longer confined to the realms of corn, beans and hogs. Most importantly, they realize the relationship between farmer and consumer is not always protracted and abstract.

It took nearly two and a half hours for Susan and her supporters to explain to the Board what a CSA is, how small farms fit into the big picture, and how it is important for people to build a relationship with a grower–which includes on-farm tours and activities.

At the beginning of the meeting, the majority of board members seemed on edge and very negative about Susan’s appeal. By the end, however, the board voted unanimously to overturn a previous ruling. That ruling placed punitive financial constrictions on small farmers and made it nearly impossible to have those on-farm grower and consumer connections.

Just as seed dealers are allowed to invite people to their farms for seed-trials, small vegetable farmers are now allowed to invite people to their farms for educational and promotional events.

The vote was precedent setting, not only in Johnson County, but for the entire state of Iowa (and perhaps even in neighboring states) as many locales struggle with the same question: “What is a farm and who should receive farm exemptions?”

*Changing the minds of the board members could not have happened without your support.*

Farmer Dave