Friday June 16, 2006 Waitsfield, VT
Yesterday at 9:30AM the Washington County Sheriff’s Department hand delivered an injunction to American Flatbread Co. and George Schenck.
“This matter, having come before the court on the application of the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health for temporary injunctive relief…”
Ouch! So I phoned the commissioner who was kind enough to take my call. We had a most pleasant and engaging conversation.
I explained that this act of civil disobedience was quite out of character, but that I had been compelled to do so because, in my view, the current rules and regulations governing how Vermont farmers—especially those who work on small diversified farms, and Vermont food buyers—especially small commercial operations such as American Flatbread, were effectively prevented from doing business with one another, and that this seemed fundamentally wrong. What I am asking, and being told I cannot do under court order, is to buy food – very good food- from my neighbor.
Commissioner Moffatt listened to what I had to say with a great deal of respect and patience. She responded with understanding and suggested that instead of expending our time in court, that she would be willing to facilitate a meeting with herself, me, and Dave Lane of the Vermont Department of Agriculture.
In return, I promised not to serve my neighbors outlawed chicken tonight.
In a phone conference the following day, the three of us agreed to meet with a small group including farmers and consumers to talk about how we might imagine solutions that would work for farmers while safe-guarding the public health.
It is a start. It is not a solution in itself. I am guardedly optimistic about a constructive outcome. I am given pause by the general cynicism of farmers who feel they have “Gone down this road before and some away empty-handed.” American Flatbread’s financial security and my personal liberty have been threatened by this injunction, but these threats pale in comparison to those that have been suffered by small farms for the past two generations.
Related Topics: political flatbread