I don’t even know where to begin. How about those little farms in what Corinthians used to call “the country”?

These were small farms that let the families on them remain families, enhance their outside incomes, and teach their children the value of the land and work. I am intimately aware of these influences, and I thank God for them.

Yes, most people in town worked at the paper mill. But many tried to retain the country life, which was so much better.

Flash forward to now, to a small farm hatchery and feed store, Dean Family Farm, in what people used to call “the country” in Corinth.

Someone complains about poultry and about manure piles, which, by the way, are the first steps to better soil, better gardens, a better life — and the right of every farmer, gardener and husbandry man and woman.

All of a sudden the town is all about driving the hatchery and feed store out of business. The code this and the code that. The town lawyer, the zoning enforcement officer.

Who pays these people? You do.

Meanwhile, the family has to pay their own lawyer and comply, comply, comply, comply ...

They have tried to comply, even beyond reason. I’ve seen it.

At this point they have to give up or lose everything. They might even have to lose everything anyway. Investing in a feed mill is no joke.

This is a feed store and a farm (not a restaurant). I’ve been to scores of feed stores. This one is excellent.

It buys and grinds grain from all over Saratoga County and the region, and buys hay from local farms. This is a place that allows me to give my animals fresh food versus the food I can buy in a gigantic conglomerate store — which is not only less palatable, of questionable age shelf life-wise, but also at least a half-hour drive away.

Without Dean’s, I have to drive 100 miles round-trip to get freshly ground grains.

Dean Family Farm allowed me to contribute to my local economy, instead of exclusively to multinational companies that could give less than half a crap about the place I live.

Good job, Corinth, and every other small town in America that seems to want to drive out small business and small farming.

In the past, the town of Corinth supported Corinth Bioconversion and Corinth Fibre, both boondoggles, both wastes of taxpayer dollars, and both a lot stinkier than a compost heap.

And an insane plan to ship New York City’s waste by rail to a proposed mega-burn plant in town (luckily the townspeople revolted against that idea).

But protect a small business, a real hatchery, a real economic engine, initiated by very hard-working residents? No way.

Someone has the town and its money on their side, and someone else doesn’t. Check out the support Dean Family Farm is getting on Facebook after their announcement that they’ll have to close.

I haven’t seen the Facebook post, because I’m a woodchuck, but I’ve been told about it. And I’ll tell you what: I am one wound-up woodchuck, and so are a lot of other folks.

I talked to the powers that be in Corinth, weeks ago. I tried to tell them how important this feed store was to us locals, and how it was improving our communities, and how it was supporting our local farmers.

The response was totally Russian and totally NYC: laws and codes and, as far as I’m concerned, harassment, and Right to Farm be damned.

Watch out, Corinthians. Hide your chickens, your livestock, your horses, put your compost pile behind fences or your citified neighbor might complain. And think twice about trying to start an honest business.

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Forrest Hartley is one wound-up woodchuck. You can leave him a message at new_americangothic@yahoo.com.


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