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The Fresh & Local columns

I have always wanted to farm and to be a writer. I have been fortunate enough to be able do both. My writing oportunity came in the form of being a newspaper columnist for nearly four years from 2011 to 2015. The opportunity came about as the result of a snarky article about local-market farming written by the Associated Press that was run by the Culpeper Star-Exponent in April, 2011. Terry and I had just completed our first year of winter farming for Fresh Link when this article appeared, so it really irked me. I am not really sure what the point of the article was, other than to suggest that locally-grown produce is just another passing fad.

I sat down and wrote a reply to the AP making the case for locally-grown produce. My reply to the AP was too long for a normal letter-to-the-editor, so the Star-Exponent upgraded it to an op-ed piece and ran the whole thing. Based pretty much entirerly on that op-ed, the Star-Exponent eventually offered me a weekly column on locally-grown produce. We came to an agreement that August, and in Septetmber the "Fresh & Local" column began. For three and a half years, the column ran every Friday at the bottom of the editorial page.

I thought that I would write the column for maybe six months, and by then I would have exhausted all the subjects of interest to a general audience. I was flat-out wrong about that. I had a whiteboard in my office where I would list all the subjects I needed to cover. Right from the begining, the more I wrote, the more subjects filled the board.

Radio talkshow host Chris Plante says that the most insidious power of the media is the power to ignore. So it is. I saw stories by the Fauquier Free Citizen and the Washington Examiner about how some wealthy aristicracts from Middleburg horse country, along with officials from Fauquier County and the Piedmont Evironmental Council (PEC) land trust all joined forces to drive a small local-market farmer named Martha Boneta off her land.

The stories turned out to be true, but no one but the Fauquier Free Citizen and me followed the story regularly. Martha's plight was completely ignored by all but a handful of other "journalists" - the power to ignore clearly on display. You can begin reading about Martha's battles in column #46.

I mention Martha Boneta because Martha's story is not unique. You can read in these columns about what the EPA did to Andy Johnson and York County did to its oystermen, among many others. Despite Michael Bloomberg's idiotic comments during his brief 2020 Presidential campaign, the reality is that farming is a tough business that requires skills ranging from agronomy and mechanics to finance, the law and internet tech skills. You can think of these columns collectively as a window into our world of issues during the coming-of-age of local-market agriculture.


Update: Martha Boneta filed a $2 million lawsuit against Middleburg realtors Phil and Patricia Thomas accusing them of colluding with PEC to drive her off her land. That lawsuit was settled in May, 2018, and altho the terms of the settlement are sealed, Martha has said, "Justice has been served." Martha also filed a lawsuit against PEC, and as far as I know, that suit is still pending.

-Bryant Osborn

Reply to AP "Locally Grown?" Article, Apr 7, 2011

Fresh & Local #1 The Revolution Has Begun, Sept 23rd 2011

Fresh & Local #2 The Market Master, Sept 30th 2011

Fresh & Local #3 Good Friends, Good Food, Good Wine, Oct 7th 2011

Fresh & Local #4 What should I Do with My Life, Oct 14th 2011

Fresh & Local #5 The Fresh Link, Part 1, Oct 21st 2011

Fresh & Local #6 Wispers (The Fresh Link, Part 2), Oct 28th 2011

Fresh & Local #7 Locavores, Nov 4th 2011

Fresh & Local #8 Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification, Nov 11th 2011

Fresh & Local #9 Croftburn Market Part 1, Nov 18th 2011

Fresh & Local #10 Croftburn Market Part 2, Nov 25th 2011

Fresh & Local #11 Farm Risk and MF Global, Dec 2nd 2011

Fresh & Local #12 Farm Risk and MF Global Part 2, Dec 9th 2011

Fresh & Local #13 CSAs, Dec 16th 2011

Fresh & Local #14 Like-Minded People, Dec 23rd 2011

Fresh & Local #15 Schechter Poultry and Interstate Commerce, Dec 30th 2011

Fresh & Local #16 Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification, Redux, Jan 6th 2012

Fresh & Local #17 The Growing Number of Young Farmers, Jan 13th 2012

Fresh & Local #18 Choosing Where to Live and Work, Jan 20th 2012

Fresh & Local #19 The First Signs of Spring, Jan 27th 2012

Fresh & Local #20 Web Searching for Locally Grown Food, Feb 3rd 2012

Fresh & Local #21 Volunteer Community Farms, Feb 10th 2012

Fresh & Local #22 Moo Thru & The Ice Cream Dream, Feb 17th 2012

Fresh & Local #23 Moo Thru & The Ice Cream Dream, Part 2, Feb 24th 2012

Fresh & Local #24 The Growing Number of Young Farmers Part2, Mar 2nd 2012

Fresh & Local #25 Cookbooks for Locavores, Mar 9th 2012

Fresh & Local #26 The First Six Months, Mar 16th 2012

Fresh & Local #27 The U.S.D.A. and Pink Slime, Mar 23rd 2012

Fresh & Local #28 Cheap Food Isn't, Mar 30th 2012

Fresh & Local #29 Native Harvest, Apr 6th 2012

Fresh & Local #30 The 2012 Culpeper Farmers' Market, Apr 13th 2012

Fresh & Local #31 The $10 Buy Local Challenge, Apr 20th 2012

Fresh & Local #32 Locavores, Summer Salads and Mescluns, Apr 27th 2012

Fresh & Local #33 The Dangers of Mental Autopilot, May 4th 2012

Fresh & Local #34 Farmers’ Markets and Electronic Benefit Transfers, May 11th 2012

Fresh & Local #35 Acreage and Financial Viability, May 18th 2012

Fresh & Local #36 Does Organic Food Make People Judgmental, May 25th 2012

Fresh & Local #37 Want to Make More Than a Banker?, June 1st 2012

Fresh & Local #38 Does Sugar Make You Stupid?, June 8th 2012

Fresh & Local #39 The Tiniest of Miracles, June 15th 2012

Fresh & Local #40 Restaurants and Josey Wales: Always Looking for an Edge, June 22nd 2012

Fresh & Local #41 Tomatoes: The Official Start of Summer, June 29th 2012

Fresh & Local #42 The Town That Food Saved, July 6th 2012

Fresh & Local #43 The Town That Food Saved: Indusrial Agriculture and Sustainability, July 13th 2012

Fresh & Local #44 The Town That Food Saved: The Pursuit of Happiness, July 20th 2012

Fresh & Local #45 Everything I Needed, July 27th 2012

Fresh & Local #46 Government Tyranny in Fauquier, Aug 3rd 2012

Fresh & Local #47 Tyranny and Economic Development, Aug 10th 2012

Fresh & Local #48 Tyranny and Eminent Domain, Aug 17th 2012

Fresh & Local #49 Happy New Year Everyone, Aug 24th 2012

Fresh & Local #50 North Cove Mushrooms: Growing Goes High-Tech, Aug 31st 2012

Fresh & Local #51 The Booming Growth of Farmers' Markets, Sept 7th 2012

Fresh & Local #52 The Fringe Benefits of Farming, Sept 14th 2012

Fresh & Local #53 The Fringe Benefits of Farming, Part 2, Sept 21st 2012

Fresh & Local #54 The Fringe Benefits of Farming, Part 3, Sept 28th 2012

Fresh & Local #55 The Omnivore’s and Locavore’s Dilemmas, Oct 5th 2012

Fresh & Local #56 The All-Time Favorite Meals, Oct 12th 2012

Fresh & Local #57 Vote 'Yes' on Question 1, Oct 19th 2012

Fresh & Local #58 Managing the Risks of Farming, Oct 26th 2012

Fresh & Local #59 The Problem with Sprouts, Nov 2nd 2012

Fresh & Local #60 Making Homemade Mozzarella Cheese, Nov 9th 2012

Fresh & Local #61 Los Angeles' Meatless Mondays, Nov 16th 2012

Fresh & Local #62 New York's Sugary Drink Limit, Nov 23rd 2012

Fresh & Local #63 Pink Slime Update, Nov 30th 2012

 

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