Re: Harassed Permies

you are not alone in your experience. We got attacked by our neighbors and
the county after we applied for a permit to establish a horticulture school
on a rural farm in Oregon. One of our neighbor, a real estate developer,
organized a disinformation campaign filled with hatred and fear of hippies.
We recieved hundreds of slanderous letters opposing our project. Mostly it
was said that our presence would reduce the value of their properties but
also that we would cause crime and trouble, become a cult or even worse. It
was a most disheartening description of us and our project that came to us
and the front page of the local papers. 

We decided to fight back in court - and after three years we won (in Oregon
Supreme Court) the right to establish a school on farmland, with all
buildings essential for its operation. We have spent another year arguing
with the county and neighbors about what buildings are essential. 'Them'
claiming that education can be done without any buildings and us explaining
what is essential in our opinion. We're supposed to get a ruling at the end
of January.

As we won in the high court we over-turned 23 years of case law, opening up
for schools and churches to get established on farmland. In so doing the
property that we lease doubled in price. While we were in litigation we
were banned from doing any education on the land. So we grew organic seeds
to pay our attorneys, and enough food to feed ourself. Now the landlord
wants to sell at double the price it was worth when we got started (cuz our
court victory), and we do not yet know if we can do our school.

So ... We're packing down our belongings and have nowhere to go - there's
plenty of farmland around here but we might end up having to go though the
same courts again. The issues might even be the same ---- ignorance and
fear of alternatives that challanges someones belief structures.

We learned that there are those who want to beat you up for being in to
peace. Standing up for your rights is not the same as fighting back, but a
refusal to accept violence and ignorance to be victorious. We are still
hoping for magic to happen so that we can buy the land and build our
school. It's hard to do fundraising when you don't know if you can get a
permit for it.

I wish we knew other permies and found this network of support during the
years of turbulence. We learned about the weakness of the opposition, and
the strength of our determination for a brighter future. It sucks to get
beaten up and sit in legal limbo for years - I can't wait 'til it's over.
There is so much to grow and cultivate - peace and love does not just
happen - it takes a lot of work and patience for it to bloom and go to

So have faith you harassed permies and take it as a lesson in esoteric
cultivation of noble ideas, harvest the virtues and spread the seeds of
Compost their hatred, fear and ignorance as weeds and maneur - it'll prove
to be good fertilizer and power for the course.

peace is grown

 *************     Peace Garden Institute    **************
          P.O. Box 3179 - Applegate - Oregon 97530
 tel: 541 899 1704 - fax: 541 899 3904 - email: peace@mind.net