This past Sunday I had the honour of visiting a farm in Hastings, Trent Hills Ontario, for LifeStock, a fundraising event held for Wholearth FarmStudio.
LifeStock was attended by hundred of people who all had a common interest at mind, as well as being filled with hope, positivity, and passion for our land and the living beings who live off of it.
This was no ordinary place, with bushy rows of asparagus, a beautiful garden, a small friendly flock of heritage sheep, a pair of Percherons with a small foal, acres of rolling hills with long grasses and swaying wild flowers, and a gentle cow to round off the mix.
The owner of this farm is also not some ordinary person. Her name is Montana Jones, and in my books she’s a hero.
Montana is a preserver of heirloom vegetables and heritage breed livestock. She has been a shepherd for the rare Shropshire sheep for more than 16 years now, and cultivating uncommon varieties of vegetables for over 30 years.
Almost 4 years ago she was unjustly accused of her sheep having a disease called scrapie which does not affect humans. The CFIA mercilessly killed her sheep before they could come to the conclusion that these sheep did not in fact have scrapie. The CFIA also successfully stripped down her farm, held it in quarantine, halted her ability to receive income, killed all her sheep, and in addition made her pay. Herself, Michael Schmidt and a few others made an attempt to rescue the sheep from their death and were charged with criminal charges and offences. If she is found guilty of these criminal charges she will be subjected to 12 years in jail as well as fines of 1.5 million.
They have charged her under the act of alleged conspiracy when in reality all she was trying to do is protect Canada’s heritage sheep. Is that really such a crime?
Montana Jones loves her farm, from every fragile blade of grass to the living creatures which feed upon it and because of her culled sheep and constant attacks from opposition she is struggling with her own existence battling depression as well as Post traumatic Stress disorder.
As much as she continues to struggle for her right to land, ownership of her livestock, and for the fees to cover the legal proceedings she continues to combat the resistance from government officials with hope to overcome the corrupted and unfair system. As much as she is a strong powerful woman, she needs everyones help and support.
The pre-trial court date which will partly determine the future of her farm and if she will serve time in Jail is coming up tomorrow July 13, 2016 in Peterborough.
To find out more and to help her in this urgent time to be able to cover her court fees you can donate here. This is only the Pre-trial, but she will need funding for both this trial and the final proceedings.
Her being harassed by the CFIA and government officials is not just about one farmer but is the story of thousands of farmers struggling internationally against the unjust decisions devised by authority figures. It is the story of thousands of farmers fighting for diversity and variety in livestock and crops worldwide. It is the story of trying to preserve what our very country was founded upon… our heritage.
As originally posted by Rachel Parent on her personal blog, Rachel’s News.