Martha Boneta to Emcee the Shad Planking
The Shad Planking is pleased to announce that Martha Boneta, champion of small family farms, has graciously accepted our invitation to emcee this year’s Shad Planking.
“What a tremendous honor! I’m thrilled!!” Martha told us.
Martha is well known throughout Virginia as a passionate advocate for family farms and property rights. She was the driving force behind HB1430, known as the Boneta Bill, which guarantees individual liberty and property rights for farmers.
Living the American Dream
Speaking about the passage of the bill, Martha stated: “It’s a blessing beyond words. But this bill is not just about our little farm. It’s about all family farms, property rights, economic freedom, and the American dream.”
Martha grew up in Mt. Vernon on what is believed to be part of George Washington’s vast farmland. She dreamed of owning her own farm one day. “There is something so powerfully and fundamentally Virginian about farming. There were farms in Virginia before there was a United States of America,” Martha said. “It’s our heritage, and it’s not just our economic heritage. It’s our cultural heritage and it’s our historic heritage.”
Martha purchased the aptly named Liberty Farm in 2006. Its 64 acres are an oasis in Paris, Virginia, about an hour’s drive west of Washington, D.C. During the growing season Liberty Farm offers fresh vegetables, honeybee products, several types of eggs, handmade goat’s milk soaps, and wool from alpaca, sheep, and llama. It’s also home to more than 180 animals.
Farming in Fear, a project of Honest Enterprise, received the Excellence in Filmmaking (short documentary) and the Audience Choice Award at the Anthem Film Festival in 2015. The film documents Martha’s lifelong dream of owning an organic farm in Virginia, and overcoming the barriers she faced. She has had a years-long battle with the Piedmont Environmental Council, Fauquier County government, and Virginia land brokers who tried—and failed—to grab her land, prevent her from operating her farm, and obstruct her property rights.
Martha stated in the film, “We purchased our farm in 2006, spent years building the infrastructure, and then when they came after me, every day of my life has been in fear of what they would do to me next. I’ve been farming in fear. There were definitely times when I thought there was no way I could continue doing this.” Her mom convinced her to persevere, because her fight wasn’t just about Liberty Farm—it was about all family farms.
Honored by the General Assembly
On January 27, 2016, the General Assembly issued HJR 213, commending Martha as a passionate advocate for family farmers and property rights in the Commonwealth. She also has been recognized as one of Country Woman Magazine’s 45 Most Amazing Women in America. The award is given to women who make outstanding contributions to agrarian life in their communities.
Martha speaks all over the country on farming, property rights, and environmental issues. She teaches farming practices to inner city children and has donated tons of vegetables to Virginia’s food banks and families in need.
You can connect with Martha on her blog, marthaboneta.com.