With her life’s dream of being a small family farmer in Virginia, Martha Boneta obtained 64 acres in Fauquier County in 2006 to raise vegetables, herbs, raw honey, eggs, and host small animals. Little did she know that a birthday party with eight 10-year-old girls would trigger zealous county regulators, who saw the party as an event needing special exception permits and required a hearing that would impose fees.
Thinking she had all the right commercial permits and licenses, Boneta was still threatened with $5,000 per day fines — despite Virginia being a right-to-farm state, where local governments are considered unable to use zoning laws to bring nuisance suits for customary farm operations.
Soon enough, it became clear that there were outside interests who seemed connected to county government, the IRS and even her mortgage company. They wanted to force her off her land, and she decided to fight back. (RELATED: IRS Inspector General Probes Whether Agency Abused Virginia Tea Partier)
As citizens rallied behind her passionate defense of farming and property rights, she found her way to “Fox And Friends,” where a national following continued to build. Pressure mounted against government harassment and this month, with her determined civic leadership, the Boneta bill was signed into law by Virginia’s governor, providing farmers greater protections for customary activities at small family farms.
Serving as a model for other citizens feeling targeted and harassed by government, Boneta says, “Never give up, because our freedoms, our liberties, our property rights are fundamental to us all.”
Even at great personal cost, connecting with other citizens and groups gave Boneta courage that most don’t know is there for them, too.
To learn more about Boneta’s Liberty Farm, go here.
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