It seems that neighbors of Catherine Webb would rather not see their rural vistas spoiled by actual working farms. The Baltimore County, Maryland resident actually works the land she lives on, raising free-range chickens, and selling eggs and poultry products from the lower level of her home.
In 2006, Springfield Farm, and then owners David and Lily Smith (Catherine’s parents) applied for, and were granted a permit to build a barn across the street where they could move their store and expand the business. Given that generations of the family had been working the farm for over 300 years, this hardly seemed like a radical request. But this was too much for the grand homes in the vicinity. Nearby residents immediately appealed the decision and set in motion an odyssey through the Maryland legal and land-use system that is now finally set to be resolved in favor of Springfield Farm. Seven years later, construction on the new barn is finally set to begin.
It’s easy to portray opponents of the project as imperious, nouveau riche snobs. They may indeed aspire to be country squires who want to be masters of all they survey. But the larger question has to be the emotional distance so many modern consumers want to keep from their food source. Rather than view the farm as a source of community pride and quality wholesome meat, the neighbors chose to grumble about traffic and potential eyesores. The emphasis on style over sustenance in some parts of this country, speaks volumes about our relation to what we eat and where it comes from.