Vermont’s Farm to Plate program has offered up yet another example of the fictional absurdity, and blatant unconstitutionality, of the government’s effort to use the race card to subjugate Vermonters into submission. Fortunately, facts do count. Vermont’s bully progressives have launched a multifaceted, factually absurd racist attack on voters — but that government still has the legal burden of proving it holds the power to do what it seeks, and it has zero chance of prevailing on fiction.
The initiative, a nonprofit created supposedly to “increase sustainable food development and create jobs in Vermont’s food and farm sector, improve soils, water … and access to healthy food,” has now shifted to focus on race. Relying on a Vermont Agriculture Department “study,” the goal now is to make black people become farmers — whether or not farming is viable, or the new recruits possess assets or experience. Vermont’s dairy farmers are struggling, with many more farms closing under COVID. The government’s response has been to weaponize race and ignore food productivity in favor of an ill-defined and impossible “equity” — the magic word used to seek infinite power and wealth.
The goalpost has shifted:
Food system organizations and stakeholders prioritize racial equity and actions to eradicate structural racism in their work, are accountable to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) leadership, and support BIPOC participation and representation.
Notice the lack of pretense of farm viability, profitability or food quality — it’s all about getting BIPOC people some farmland. This is the “landback movement,” a shallow and economically foolish proposition that tickles the minds of academics and other elitists who never worked the soil. Such efforts will fail as magnificently in Vermont as they did in Zimbabwe:
In the late-1990s whites accounted for less than 1% of the population but owned 70% of arable land. Mugabe raised this issue of land ownership by white farmers. In a calculated move, he began forcible land redistribution, which brought the government into headlong conflict with the International Monetary Fund. … The country, which used to be one of Africa’s richest, became one of its poorest. Many observers now view the country as a ‘failed state.’ … By 2009 inflation had peaked at 500 billion% per year under the Mugabe government and the Zimbabwe currency was worthless.
The state of Vermont has built this huge shift in focus on the shallowest of reeds — arguments that Vermont farmers have been complicit in a “systematic racism” against black people. This would be acceptable for Vermont’s government if it were true. It’s not true, and instead has been fabricated on a stinking hill of lies that the government has the burden of proving in court. In order for government to curtail acknowledged constitutional liberties — especially if it seeks to allocate wealth and opportunities based on a criterion as shallow as racial identity, in clear violation of the 14th Amendment — it must demonstrate a “compelling state interest” justifying said action.
But Vermont has no compelling case. By its own study, “minimal data currently exists about food insecurity rates by race in Vermont,” and “a precise picture of the current conditions for the BIPOC labor force in Vermont is not evident at this time.” But hey, a lack of data is unimportant when government has already settled on an ideological conclusion, right? That’s why courts require proof.
Where is the proof for Vermont’s following bureaucratic rewrite of history?
The Vermont food system is built on hundreds of years of marginalization and inequity. Vermont must build racial equity into all areas of its food system, including processes, structures, initiatives, and practices. … Some of these inequities are rooted in the history and policies that shaped the US food system, which was built on land taken from Indigenous people and further developed with the forced labor of enslaved Black people. Indigenous people, primarily Abenaki, are the original land stewards here and have grown crops, hunted, gathered, and fished across present-day Vermont for over 10,000 years. Europeans brought foreign diseases, waged war, took land, and led the eugenics movement, leading to a significantly reduced and marginalized Abenaki population with little access to their unceded ancestral lands.
This litany of falsehoods was concocted by Vermont’s progressive zealots — ironically, these are the same forces that inflicted eugenics on (mostly white) Vermont farmers, now invoking that horrible behavior as justification to do it again! Thomas Sowell rightly points out that those claiming all outcomes in America are determined by race are close cousins to both Nazism and the eugenics movements, who also focused on DNA as sole determinant of outcome — in gross error and prejudice.
Blacks have never been “systematically” targeted in Vermont as they have elsewhere, least of all in farming. The Abenaki were largely gone by 1650 — who shall we award their supposed land claims to? In Vermont, one can become recognized as Abenaki simply by claiming it, including receiving preferential treatment for COVID vaccinations: this is all a silly farce. All current white farmers should simply file as Abenaki, and Vermont’s farms would be 99% Abenaki owned and we could shame New Hampshire and Maine! Ironically, the left in Vermont also complains that Native Americans were killed by disease (as if deliberately), even as it is clear that humanity has now unleashed a man-made disease. Shall we focus on punishing white Vermonters today for a pestilence unintentionally unleashed in 1535, while ignoring who is responsible for the one currently killing us? That is precisely the case in Vermont, and par for the course for critical race theory (CRT).
The claim that the Abenaki were here for over 10,000 years is pure fiction. As Mark Bushnell notes in a 2016 VTDigger article:
It’s possible that the first immigrants to Vermont were Native Americans. We just don’t know. We do know that the Paleoindians were the first people to arrive here. They did so some 12,000 years ago. But since the term “immigrants” implies people arriving in an already settled land, these original Vermonters shouldn’t be counted as immigrants. Perhaps one of the tribes that Europeans encountered here — the Abenaki and the Mahican — should be considered the region’s first immigrants, or perhaps they descended from the Paleoindians. Scholars don’t know what links, if any, existed between the Paleoindians and later tribes.
Platitudes and disconnected falsehoods are not welcome in legislation and administrative regulations: they are anathema to truth and liberty. Vermont’s idiotic Farm to Plate and other initiatives undermine their own credibility — and legitimate purpose — by weaponizing race at every turn. They do so in Vermont at their peril, where their perverse lies die a quick death when confronted with reality.
Consider this footnote from the “study”:
Vermont producers are overwhelmingly white (97.7%) and operate approximately 99% of the land in farms according to the 2017 US Census of Agriculture. Only 2.3% of producers on Vermont farms identified as BIPOC.5 This is below the 6% of BIPOC farmers in New England as a whole, and the 4.87% nationally.
The desired implication is that Vermont is racist because it doesn’t have as many black farmers as New England on the whole. (A similar charge could be leveled against the Irish or Poles). More, 99% of Vermont’s farm production is by white people — and the Legislature is putting the 1% as priority. In doing so, it must prove it holds a “compelling governmental interest” — a snowball in Fukushima has better odds.
CRT is D.O.A. in Vermont. The progressive colonizers out to denigrate and eliminate the native white agrarian culture just haven’t realized it yet: they have been too busy congratulating themselves in their closed-door echo chambers while they drafted fantastical lies to subjugate the locals. Now they have to prove it, and they can’t.
Certainly, equity policy has no hope of benefiting farms or growing the economy. Distributing assets and economic opportunities based on race criteria rarely benefits anyone, including the recipients. Vermont has decided weakening the agricultural economy to compensate victims dead 400 years is a wise path, in order to nationally virtue-signal while fomenting racist resentment and hate.
When Vermont helped lead the abolitionist movement, it was about equality of opportunity, not instituting race quotas.
My how times have changed.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2021. All rights reserved.