Many of you have already received the letter I sent out below about the threat to our local piggeries in Haverhill, MA, but I wanted to remind you that the Board of Health meeting is tonight, November 15, 2011, at 7pm at City Hall. The link with more information is below. There has also been some news coverage about our fight! Here are those links:
Dear Customers, Shareholders, Members & Friends,
Local agriculture is facing a challenge in the City of Haverhill. As a supporter of buy local, we are asking for your help.
The Haverhill Board of Health (BOH) is considering a ban on all piggeries in that town. Such a ban would be a horrible blow to Haverhill Farmers, and those throughout the state. Once one town bans a certain type of agriculture, others will likely follow suit. It also opensthe door to banning other types of farming. Even worse, this would be a blow to consumers who want to buy local food. What if every town banned piggeries in Massachusetts? Where would you buy your pork? Would you be able to speak to the person who raised the pigs? To see or discuss the conditions in which they were raised?
Town boards have legitimate concern in making sure that piggeries, and other farming operations are managed in a way so that they’re not a nuisance to neighbors. That’s not what this is about, or what the town is doing. They are simply banning piggeries outright. This epitomizes a not-in-my-backyard attitude.
What can you do? Let the town of Haverhill know that you DO want farms in your backyard. Let them know that you would prefer to buy from a local business; that you want to keep your money in the local community; that you want to protect open space; that you want to know where the food you feed your family comes from; and that you want to preserve the rural character of our towns.
Even if you do not live in Haverhill, this could impact you and the Farmer(s) that feed you.
What can you do? Consider one or more of the following actions:
1. Attend the BOH meeting and voice your opposition to the proposal and your support for local farms. It is on November 15 at 7pm in the City Hall. Details at http://www.ci.haverhill.ma.us/departments/clerk/Meetings/2011/111115-ph-ppb.pdf
2. Write or call the BOH before the meeting and let them know your thoughts:
Haverhill Board of Health – firstname.lastname@example.org – 978-374-2325
Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini – email@example.com – 978-374-2300
While more and more of you are trying to eat locally, know your Farmer, know the land, shop locally, and know that the food on your plate was treated with respect to the animals, the environment, and the helping hands that helped it grow; doing your best to stay away from the big
industries…somebody is threatening that. For those of you who follow us on Facebook you saw the post a several days ago on how this hit a little too close to home for us. We raise vegetables, fruit, beef, poultry, lamb, goats and PIGS. We raise these animals in a clean environment and for those of you who get it through the Meat CSA, Meat Buyers Club, Winter CSA or right over the counter…you would not want to see that option taken away from you, nor would your Farmers.
On behalf of my family, myself and the entire Massachusetts farming community, we thank you for your support.
Jamie M. Cruz