Where is John Wayne when you need him? He stood up for the little guy, the small farmer; and, Wayne’s ilk is not to be found in Cottonwood’s City Hall.
The small farmers, aka the plot-holders in the Cottonwood Community Garden appealed to the City Manager and the Mayor for justice; but in the end the city declined to intervene. So the garden is still controlled by the CCG LLC Board, which seems to be answerable to no one. All of the Board’s meetings have been closed and there has been no public accounting of money raised for the garden, though it would appear that a good bit has gone for lawyers’ fees.
I certainly don’t have money to pay a lawyer. What’s happened to freedom of speech and due process of law? There wasn’t any democracy or community in that garden. The grasshoppers were running amok. The weeds were waist high, a habitat for beet leaf hopper,s which bring curly top virus. The gophers were invading. I tried to find solutions to the gardens’ problems by communicating with the Board. Eventually they sent me a certified letter barring me from the garden.
Actually, I’m a little bit worried about writing this letter. Recently the board’s lawyer wrote to me: “Any further comments will be treated as defamatory.” So I want to make it perfectly clear that this letter is not intended to be “defamatory” in any way whatsoever.
To set the record straight, the water system installed by the city is fine. This is an excellent use of the ditch water system … growing food locally in plots available to all who want to work them; that is, unless the board decides you’re no longer allowed in their garden.
In their new plot application and agreement, there is great emphasis on their right to control access to the garden and to change the rules whenever. Even credit card companies have to notify you in advance when they change their rules.
This project could be a real asset to the community, particularly in these difficult economic times and with the high cost of water. But, this wasn’t a “community garden.” It was a “rent-a-plot” project with absentee landlords. It’s on city property. Hey you, fellow taxpayers, that means your land. Shouldn’t it be run democratically, by the gardeners, for the gardeners?
And, shouldn’t the city make sure that the people running the garden are answerable to someone; perhaps even elected by the gardeners? Maybe there’s a hero like John Wayne on the City Council.
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