More on Indy ReZone

Reposting for Sherri

The Indianapolis CIty Council has sent Indy Rezone to committee – specifically the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee. Their next meeting is Monday July 27 at 5:30 in room 260 of the City Council building.  This is where there will be discussion and debate. Here is where the rubber meets the road and where a large presence is needed. This will be a critical meeting. 
 
Monday night (July 13) the “Retail Workers Bill of Rights” had a large group at the City Council meeting.  They expected their Special Resolution for the Bill of Rights to pass, instead it was sent to committee – the same committee and day that will hear comments about Indy rezone.  They were not happy and will have an even larger group at the committee meeting. This is a critical turning point for them, and for Indy rezone. If there are not people there showing opposition to Indy Rezone, the absence of people will speak volumes. 
 
Right now what is needed is twofold: Come to the meeting if at all possible (even if you have to get there late) and contact the councilors on the committee via e-mail and telephone prior to the meeting, so that they know there is opposition/concern from more than just a handful of people. Here is the city webpage with the names of the committee members. Open each councilors page for their contact info: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Council/Committees/Pages/metro.aspx  
 
We already know that Zach Adamson is not happy with this whole thing.  We are working on talking to all of the committee members and hope you will too.
 
One of the many issues: All there is, is  a draft for the livestock license – too many uncertainties that could be changed after this debacle is passed. 
 
There is so much wrong in Indy rezone, I could write a book (and that is without having read most of this 700+ page document!). There is a lot of confusing, unclear information in it. And in the words of someone working for Indy Rezone,who helped write it “It is Flawed”. (She said this several times at the Metropolitan Development Commision meeting.)
 
scroll down to bottom of page for the livestock license link
 
If you would like a searchable Word document you can access that here: https://copy.com/pAwC1I46qpOItu1F 
You may be surprised at what you find when searching for specific things. 
 
If you are like me, you have a real hard time figuring out how many more restrictions make us more sustainable. I realize there is no way to make everyone happy.  But why in the world would we pass something that we already know is so flawed?
 
Feel free to contact myself or my husband:
 

Animal care-husbandry & Permaculture

Recently it came to my attention that some people believe our animal care and farm practices are dirty and unkept. 1st before making assumptions you might want to get facts straight, learn what you are talking about before opening your mouth, and lastly ask us, we would be glad to tell you all about it.

We will educate the uneducated and ignorant. Grass should not be cut 1/4 inch above the dirt. It is very unhealthy, longer grass survives drought better, and longer grass will hold more water in both roots and green tissue. The ability to hold water has been important lately.

What one person views as weeds is actually medicinal plants we grow for FREE , do not require a prescription, doesn’t have nasty side effects. It is also food for our animals. This is why we do not spray any chemicals on our property.

We let grasses grow longer because it has more nutrients for animals, reducing our dependence on buying processed feed. Ask any rancher using grass fed techniques.

We clean our combined rabbitry and coop every 3 months. We use deep litter bedding inside to absorb and hold wastes. After 3 months it moves out to the compost pile where it is turned into soil for future gardens. Properly managed neither have an odor. I have the training and experience on both. Due to the excess rain and poor stormwater drainage in our area, some of this bedding became wet. we immediately changed and dried it out once we were able.

We house our rabbits and poultry together to harness heat in the winter, and the chickens reduce any worms or parasites, as well as till the litter naturally and help it all break down faster.

We even installed fans this summer to keep both rabbits and poultry cool, and help keep air moving in the coop.

All of our animals have names. When the chicken went past their prime for laying, they remained and are still productive, just not as many eggs a week. We did not butcher them. They still eat bugs, they still turn the compost, they still have a name, and they still process food waste from our kitchen. When old age finally takes them, we will look at replacing them.

For more on chickens read my post on In defense of the back yard flock

We used to give tours, and will do it again soon. We are still working on many things, since moving in March, and because of Avian flu we do not want additional traffic if we can help it. We had to start a great many plants and systems all over, so we would like to showcase more than just concepts, but actual practice.

To make sure our rabbits had access to water all winter long we made a rabbit watering system that does not freeze. Our rabbits (4) have  access to 275 gallons of water 24/7. This is our system from Indy but we rebuilt here in Wingate

We have had Animal control on our property (for a neighbors issue, not ours) and were commended on how well we took care of our animals. We have had a vegans, and staff of animal control and also tell us how well we take care of our animals.

What one person sees as “unsightly” another sees it as a 40% reduction in a grocery bill of all natural all organic food. Some people see it as beautiful and natural. Being ignorant and failing to educate yourself is ignorant in itself. Singling one person or a group of people out because you dislike something is called discrimination. Using position of power to go after that group is called harassment. Both of which can land someone in court. Since some people are ignorant of what I mentioned above I just thought they may also need some education on the latter as well.

New site for Wingate, Indiana

Since we moved from Indianapolis we have found our new small town somewhat lacking of available information to what we were accustomed to in Indianapolis. Where there was a need I filled the gap for both ourselves, and to better educate and share with my new town. Seemed a bit of a waste to just put information on there, so I opened it up to classified for the town, idea generation, living history of the town, and FREE webpages for any business in town. So, anyone following us in and around the Wingate area there is a new site www.townofwingate.org. All of this is FREE to the townspeople and surrounding area.

Don’t get caught in a disaster situation unprepared

Purdue now has a program to help farm families maintain a central location for critical documentation. This is key of there is a disaster, for instance flood, fire, or tornado.  The LAST thing you want to be thinking about is having to PROVE to government agencies and insurance companies you are who you say you are, you own the property that was just wiped out, your kids belong with you, your critical financial documents bank accounts etc.

Imagine being woken up in the middle of the night, leaving in the car with only the clothes on your back, your kids, maybe your pets, and fleeing your home, only to come back and it is all gone. You have no wallet, no birth certificate, no bills to prove address, no contact for you bank, no checkbook for accounts, no ATM or credit cards. Where will you stay, how will you get money out of the bank. Worse, it happened on a holiday weekend. Insurance companies not available at the only number you have in your phone, no policy numbers available, no ATM card. What are you going to do? How do you prove you are not a looter when police come by and see you picking through what was once your home? Scary thought isn’t it? Don’t let this happen to you. It can be prevented. We offer help with the Be Prepared Series of classes. Purdue is also offering limited help with a program for farm families and small businesses in the form of their “Code Red” program.

Indy Rezone hurriedly moves forward

Recently I got this e-mail from Sherri Atwell asking for help in the Marion Co Rezoning effort. While I am no longer in Marion Co. I still think it is important to curb some of the changes that affect many homesteaders and will do all that I can. As I am no longer a resident, my opinion and voice doesn’t’ carry as much weight as it once did. That doesn’t mean I WON’T voice my opinion. I am passing along her letter to you all as I couldn’t have said it any better.  Please share it around and get more momentum.

Did you know that Indy Rezone is being presented to City Council July 13th?

I am writing to you because last summer an e-mail went out to you after the public meetings regarding Urban Agriculture. I just replied all to that e-mail, so my apologies if you do not want this info, I am hoping you do! I came away from these meetings feeling like the overall response to the Indy Rezone draft was not positive.  Most people were very concerned about the new restrictions.

This past year the public info about Indy Rezone has been largely non-existent until the end of May when the news reported that they hoped it would go to City Council in June. Finally the document was posted to the Indy.gov website June 1. This document passed the Metropolitan Development Commission June 17 and will be presented to city council July 13 at 7 PM.

It can be seen here:

http://www.indy.gov/egov/city/dmd/planning/services/current/Pages/ordinance.aspx

There are over 700 pages so here is what may interest you most:

  1. Agricultural uses, Farmers Market, Garden as Primary use (Pg. 483-486)
  2. Personal Garden, Personal Livestock (pgs. 526-528)
  3. Personal Livestock License Draft:  http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DMD/Planning/Zoning/ordinances/Indy%20Rezone%20Docs/Personal%20Livestock%20License%20061715.pdf
  4. The only thing that would be considered “Grandfathering in” what you currently have/are doing- Applications and Nonconformities begins pg. 118.

After Reviewing this info, do you believe these restrictions are truly making Indy more sustainable or putting us in a box of additional restrictions? I also urge you to look up any other issues that may be of concern to you.  This link takes you to a searchable Word document you can download, so you can look up key words if you are having trouble finding what you are looking for: https://copy.com/pAwC1I46qpOItu1F

Something that caught my eye is that all the livestock info says “For Personal Use Only” – the implication there is not being able to sell eggs, chicks, baby animals. Also, some livestock is not listed as permitted, do you or your friends have Turkeys, Guineas, peafowl?  Do you have un-neutered male goats?

The City Council represents us- the constituents.  They need to know how each of you, your friends, neighbors and customers feel about Agriculture and other issues in Indy Rezone.

I hope you can take the time to make your voice heard.  Please do not assume you can fly under the radar because there is no way this can be enforced. Not everyone has that luxury. Many of us have a persistent complainer in our neighborhoods that makes it impossible to fly under the radar.  If anyone complains, code enforcement will be at your door! 

You may have good neighbors now, but will you next year or the year after that?

You can make yourself heard in more than one way:

  1. Contact Indy Rezone – These two people are on staff with Indy Rezone:

Tammara Tracy 327-7834  ttracy@indy.gov

John Neal 327-5265 jneal@indy.gov

  1. Contact your Councilor -put in your address and check “elected officials here http://maps.indy.gov/GovProfile/ If that does not work call the Council Office at 327-4242
  1. Also Contact the At-Large Councilors.
  1. Go to the City Council Meeting July 17 and the committee meeting thereafter. The leadership of the City-County Council will decide what Committee is assigned the ordinance. The schedule of meetings can be seen here: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Council/Meetings/Documents/Calendar15.pdf
  1. Contact as many people as you can and pass this information on to them.
  1. Post info on social media. Help get people informed and to the City Council meetings.

It would be great if someone would step forward and begin a petition drive to recommend this does not pass, or at the very least, gets delayed so that people can review it an fix the glaring issues. If anyone is interested in organizing or participating in a petition drive, please contact me or my husband Barry. His email address is barryatwell@gmail.com.

Thanks,

Sherri Atwell

2015 Update Podcast

So it has been a while since we put out a podcast. We have been super busy. This is a quick 15 min update on all that we have been doing and some future shows we will put out.

 

In defense of back yard chickens

Know your rights

Back to Eden 

 

You have to fight for your right…

Back in the 80’s and 90’s Beastie Boys were the bad boys on the radio fighting for their right to party. More and more today it seems as though you have to fight for your rights for anything.  From your constitutional rights, to your civil rights, to your rights within the laws, your rights are being trampled on, ignored, and violated. Why is it this way? Much has to do with people’s own ignorance. They simply do not know their rights and let people tell them what their rights are or how they are to be treated. If you are tired of this like I was, get informed, get educated, and begin flexing your rights. I live in Indiana, in the USA. So my particular rights may be different than someone in Texas, California, or Australia. But the baseline message remains the same. Know your rights and know the laws. I want to state I am NOT A LAWYER, and I am not giving legal advice, other than educate yourself.

OK, OK, you say know the laws but there are literally tens of thousands of laws all at different levels; International laws (Across country boarders), Federal laws (across state lines), State Laws (within your state), County Laws (County within state), Town/City laws or ordinances, and sometimes HOA (Home Owners Association) for your individual neighborhood.  Start with some basic ones and branch out to what matters to you. I will give some examples along the way that I have come across in the last 6 years since I work up and begin to take back my life.

Constitution

The US Constitution

 

While I could probably give you examples of how our federal government has violated every single one of these, it doesn’t make it right. It takes a lawsuit to correct the violations, and that can even go all the way to the Supreme Court.  Every American should read it, and at least have a paper copy somewhere available to them. Some examples are in the news lately, with the Executive Orders being signed to bypass Congress, to the Debts we incur as a country in the Federal Deficit, to declaring war on other countries, even if you do not call it a “war”. Calling something an “armed conflict” on foreign soil is nothing more than a lie so they can violate the law.

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution

Rights

The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights are the first 10 amendments to the constitution. These are not laws for the people, but are supposed to be laws for the government to protect your rights as a people, as a citizen. EVERY one of these rights has been violated by our government, and sometimes regularly. From The Patriot Act, to No Knock Raids, to “Protest Areas” marked by police. This again must be brought up through the court system. If you are working poor, or just poor, unless some lawyer agrees to pursue your case on your behalf pro-bone (without charge) to make a name, or to do the right thing, changes are the government from federal to local will keep stepping on your rights. It will not be until We The People stand up and say enough before a change will happen. Give you some examples in my own life.

A neighbor has an issue with her next door neighbor. He comes out yelling profanities at her for a past issue. He is on his property, she is on hers. She finally has enough and yells back, she doesn’t appreciate it. Cops show up and say they will take her to jail if they get called back out. She came to me and I explained, I am not a lawyer, but Your Freedom of Speech is protected, as is your neighbors. The cops can’t arrest you for this. She then explained the cop asked permission to enter her house. She refused, but again, Right to Freedom from Searches without cause.

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights.html

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/billofrights

Protestors against the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) out in Nevada, along with the BLM issue with the Bundy’s Ranch in general, is another issue recently. Police told protesters that they could only protest in a certain area, and when they did not comply they were arrested. This is against 1st Amendment, Freedom of Speech. BLM overstepped their authority vs. State rights in the 10th Amendment.

You will also see the 10th Amendment coming up more as States overrule Federal programs and laws. Powers not granted to the federal government shall remain with the state. From FDA “Right to Try” laws, to Marijuana, to gun rights, to NSA spying, to Common Core school requirements, lots of states are stepping away from Federal laws, and mandates. Learn more about the 10th amendment imitative below

http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/

If there is a particular issue you have on your mind, or you have come across research it. Is it Federal. State, County Local etc. I can’t go into all the laws I have researched lately but I can go into some that opened my eyes or confirmed something I held to be true.

Indiana Constitution

Indiana Laws or IC Codes

In Indiana, once you have your “Permit to Carry” you may open or conceal carry a firearms with certain limitations on location such as schools, federal buildings and property, casino, on planes and a few others. Texas is making a big deal that they now can open carry. Well, we have been doing that for a long time. Now I know the “school” was loosely defined and that citizens attending colleges wanted the right to protect themselves. Since this didn’t impact me at the time I didn’t dig deeper. But here it is again, if you do not like how the law is, then know your rights and do something about it.

In Indiana, it is perfectly legal to carry a Viking axe in public, along with long blades, switch blades, folding blades. The only thing I believe is illegal is throwing stars, and knives that have projectile blades that separate from the handle.

In Indiana, the homeschooling rule is that the minimum requirement is 180 days of education, and kids must be enrolled in formal education by age 7. That is it, no testing, no curriculum approval, no home visits, no teacher approval. You can even make their own diploma. I was “told” I could not do this, I needed a letter to the principal, I needed to file with the state, I needed to make the take the ISEP (Standardized testing). All a bunch of lies. I dug deeper and educated myself on what was the law.

In Indiana, if your kids attend public school, they are not required to participate in standardized testing (ISTEP). You as a parent, or guardian can opt out. I was told they are REQUIRED to take this test, and pass in order to graduation. This is utter fiction, and false. If you get a bunch of negative attention to the student (extra work, ostracized, or punished) you can file a lawsuit against the school, as this IS against the students rights.

In Indiana, an agent of the State (Someone employed by a government agency) may not enter your property without a warrant. This includes CPS, police, health inspectors etc. There are cases such as probable cause, and Building inspectors for “Emergency Safety”. Again I am not a lawyer, but this has held for my own experiences, more than I would like to have had.

I may not sell plants across state lines here in Indiana without regulation, permitting, and inspection. You cannot ship plants in soil through the mail system without regulations. This is why most places come “bare root” when ordered from a catalog.

In Indiana, I can order ammunition online and have it delivered to my door.

In Indiana, a private to private gun sale is legal with a few restrictions/limitations but no registration or documentation required.

Recently I had an experience with my county health department. From past posts, some may know I am having issues with the legality of having chickens on my property. So, my wife and I wanted to open a roadside market stand on our property, to sell various things we grow, or produce. She wanted all i’s dotted and t’s crossed to not get any more issues. I went to the health department to get a better understanding of some of the regulations as I was unclear from a state vs. county level. I had already done extensive research, and it was more a matter of forms at this point. Going to an agency and asking what are the laws was a mistake. I will break them down on what I was told and the inconsistencies and bad misinformation I was given.

“I had to pay a $5 fee and complete a form to open a roadside stand for tracking purposes”. Completely false. No such requirement exists legally, and is not in county, local, or state requirements. I was told it was for the health department to “track if there are food illnesses”. Well if a person bought it from me, I am pretty sure they would know where it came from.

“I was not allowed to sell duck eggs, as they are not regulated”. This is only partially false. While duck eggs are not regulated by the Egg Board of the state, upon asking the Egg Board directly, and reading the laws, I am perfectly legal to sell duck eggs on my property from my flock.

“I had to submit my eggs to the State Egg Board for testing, and approval, along with fee of $25 and registration of chicken eggs” This is false, confirmed by Egg Board, and state law. If you sell on farm, or deliver from your farm, eggs that are produces on your farm you are exempted the certain “egg producers” laws of the state.

“Because I was opening a stand, that would function as a market, I had to comply with all the farmers market requirements”. Completely false. I can open a farm stand on my property and is NOT required by law to follow the same requirements as selling on a farmers market.

“If we sell jams or other canned good, I must submit them to the state for testing”. This is false, but there are some requirements as far a labeling and food practices.

“If we sell baked goods they have to be inspected, registered, and only certain items can be sold”.  Somewhat false. Again, there are some restrictions on the types of baked good that can be sold, but no inspections and testing necessary.

Senate Bill 179 covers some of this.
https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2014/bills/senate/179/

My local town council didn’t even know where the town boundaries were, since they were using a map from the 1970’s. Because no one had ever challenged the boundaries, or looked up the current relevant information.  Sometimes, it isn’t an issue until it becomes an issue, and people become complacent with the way things are.

Here is another example. My local town ordinance said I couldn’t have chickens. They had no website (I have now created one, that I own), and I asked for a copy of said ordinances in their entirety. Sometimes, one rule conflicts with another, and sometimes the laws are so old when they went into effect, that new laws trump them. I was told it would cost me $75. $75 for a copy of the laws I am required to follow? There are 75 pages and I was told that it is in their ordinances it is $1/page. So in order to get see the laws I am supposedly violating I would have to pay a $75 fee? I think not!! So I did my research and came across the Freedom of Information Act, and the State office of Information Access.  After a formal letter, a written request, and 2 complaints, the town attorney being involved, I am SUPPOSED to get my copy of the ordinances for $0.10/page sometime after June 15th. The original request was in MARCH.

http://www.in.gov/pac/

The point in all this is educating yourself. If something doesn’t sound right to you when it is spoken, do a little research. It helps to do the research ahead of time not that it is always applicable. But if you have an inkling that this is a controversial issue, gun carry, school requirements, farmers markets or whatever, be better educated. Sometimes it is that the “official” is misinformed themselves, sometimes, if is “just the way it has always been”, but that still doesn’t make it right. When referring to a particular law, name it IC 14-3-whatever, SB 179, 4th Amendment to the constitution. It allows to whomever you are speaking, that you have done a little research, and you are more informed than the common man. If you allow the “State” to trample on your rights then they believe you are OK with it, and will continue to do so.

Growing and teaching sustainable and healthy food production