On Jan. 28, the Boulder County Board of Commissioners voted to grant the designation of “demonstration farm” to a piece of privately owned agricultural land northeast of Boulder. The property, owned by Zia Parker and
located on North 63rd Street, will now be utilized to teach permaculture — a
form of sustainable, organic farming that works with the local climate and
conditions to preserve resources like water.
The commissioners correctly saw that the needs of the community
— in this case the need to improve our food security through education about
permaculture — were more important than the somewhat contrived concerns of some
of Parker’s neighbors. It was a victory of private property rights and
sustainability over whining.
Four of Parker’s neighbors opposed the designation, claiming
that her classes would increase traffic, create parking problems and change the
character of their small neighborhood. It didn’t matter that the county had
already tried to address these concerns by limiting Parker to 10 cars on her
property or that Parker had already scaled back the nature of her application
to the county. The neighbors simply didn’t want this designation to move
forward. One claimed to need “screening” to hide the activities on Parker’s
farm from view.
Screening? From the activities of farming?
Give us a break!
It’s increasingly clear that Boulder County is developing
into a culture of whining. Rather than talking with one another and working
through our concerns with our neighbors, we turn to government, hoping to use
city or county regulations to increase our comfort, rather than solving
problems through conversations. It’s selfish, and it’s mean-spirited.
In this case, four households nearly destroyed a person’s
ability to earn a livelihood through teaching sustainable agriculture on her
farm because they didn’t want 10 extra cars driving down 63rd Street.