Jun 092011

Here’s what I wrote as a comment at Front Porch Republic about the case of Nick’s Organic Farm.   Well, it’s what I would have written if I had gone back and edited my comments one more time:

Huge believer in private property rights here.  I would not support any intervention to interfere with that. I also question the question the wisdom of establishing an organic farm on leased land.

However, it was done. And what you have here is a quasi-governmental entity selling to a governmental entity. Putting public pressure on corporations like that is entirely appropriate. Local community pressure is even better. Just because it’s legal for this transaction to take place doesn’t mean people have to approve of it or accept it.

I could see myself joining in the campaign to save the farm. It reminds me that all too often, new rural schools are built not in town, not as part of the community, but out in the country on prime farm land, where the students are separated from the life of the community. Much of the reason for despoiling these vast portions of the landscape is to provide parking for buses, teachers, and students. Especially for students. We consolidate local schools into huge units, destroying family and community in the process, then take over vast expanses of countryside to build schools with huge asphalt parking lots where students can travel great distances to learn how to be critical of their parents for being poor stewards of the environment and for not supporting cap ‘n trade.

I would be glad to join in bringing public pressure to bear against those practices, too, though local pressure is better than outsider pressure.

Here’s a photo from 7 August 2005, at a place where this process was taking place.   Gull Creek used to form a pretty little valley.   I had always liked the way the valley opened up into an alluvial floodplain, good for cropland, just as it reached the Kalamazoo River valley.    But now it has been taken over by a school and parking lots.  The old school was in town; this one is out in the country.