Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Witch Hunt is Under Way

Someone forwarded our latest Facebook post to the editor of the New Mexican.  They will be running a story on the farm situation tomorrow Wed. 6/25.   The reporter only had a few hours to write the story so I am not sure how fair or accurate her article will be.

After being issued a Notice of Violation on the property, Gaia Gardens agreed with the City to comply (for now until we can either argue the violation points, ask for a variance or address the city council for a code amendment) with:
  • having no volunteers at the farm
  • no farm interns or wwoofers
  • no lodging in recreational vehicles
  • no visitors like school groups
  • no promotion of events on our website

The Notice of Violation addresses some "building not permitted" which we understood to be sheds built by one of the tenants on the property.

The City is now requesting access to all the buildings on the property (7 rental units + a shop) because "there have been reports of work being done without permits".

The City is sending several inspectors and have asked to look into every unit and get at least a couple hours for the visit.

It will be the 4th visit by various inspectors in 3 months.

The City cannot prevent us from growing food and selling it except by denying us a home occupation license because of building codes violations on the property.

They are obviously on a witch hunt and determined to prevent us from operating as a farm, the first certified organic farm in the City of Santa Fe.

I am not sure of their political agenda but all we've been doing is demonstrating a large urban garden, selling produce at the farmers market and inviting schools and other organizations for field trips.

We are a non-profit project of the NM Community Foundation and have operated with volunteers and support from a large community from the beginning.

The death of a successful urban farm may be under way.

The inspection will take place on Thursday and representatives from the neighborhood will be present in addition to one of the attorneys representing us.

Needless to say that we are overwhelmed by the workload that this situation represents.

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