.Do you support the constitutional rights of United States citizens?
For nearly a decade, we at Schooner Creek Farm have made a living for our family by peacefully selling our wholesome, homegrown natural produce at the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market.
Beginning in June of 2019, our family has endured weekly protests at our place of business within the city- run public farmers market. Protesters have harassed, threatened and intimidated us and our children as well as our customers in front of our farm stand, claiming that we hold political views that they disagree with.
“To our knowledge, this vendor has not shared these views at Market and has treated customers with respect,” said Marcia Veldman, program/facility coordinator for Bloomington’s Parks and Recreation Department.
During the 2016 election we had a political shift, we broke with the Democratic party and far leftists, coming to believe in more conservative American values. Some who disagreed with our new found conservative politics accused us of being "nazis" on social media. They have continued to falsely link us with people and activities that we have had nothing to do with.
The City of Bloomington accepted the accusations as true without question and began taking steps to oust us from the farmers market that we have been a part of for almost a decade.
Protesters demanded that our farm be removed from the farmers' market. Mayor John Hamilton and the City of Bloomington stated that they could not remove our farm due to 1st Amendment issues, yet they attempted to circumvent legalities by publicly endorsing the actions of the protesters.
We pleaded with the city to enforce market rules which were supposed to limit protests to the "free-speech zone" and not inside the market among the farm vendors and shoppers.
Protesters formed "human walls" in front of our stand to intimidate customers, some wore black and covered their faces in masks, others put on elaborate displays with costumes and loud music containing derogatory slurs.
Attendance at the once prestigious farmers' market plummeted in 2019 and on some days, there were more protesters than customers.
The protesters have been emboldened to vandalize, follow, and stalk us. We have also had our vehicle license plate, home address and phone number maliciously published on the internet by the protesters. They have promoted a number of dangerous lies about us, left hundreds of sharp nails in our driveway and thrown fake blood on our car. We filed multiple police reports.
The Mayor of Bloomington has publicly stated that he supports the actions of the protesters and condemns Schooner Creek Farm.
The Parks and Recreation Department, in a private meeting with our attorney, warned us to limit our expression of political speech within the farmers' market, while acknowledging that we had not previously used political speech or shared our personal views in the market.
For nearly a year, our good reputation in the community as well as our small, family farming business have suffered. Additionally we have experienced financial loss and emotional trauma.
We just want to be able to continue farming in peace and providing wholesome food to our community.
The city has forced us to file a lawsuit to defend our most basic constitutional rights...
"The 16-page lawsuit filed on Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court by Attorney Michael Bruzzes argues the city violated Dye and Mackey’s First and 14th constitutional rights during the summer of 2019 at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market.
The lawsuit also claims a violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Indiana Constitution, “which prohibits restraint on the free exchange of thought or opinion and prohibits restraint on the right to speak freely on any subject.
Schooner Creek says the city sided with and encouraged protestors while prohibiting Schooner Creek from making political statements.
The lawsuit is seeking a judgment declaring the city’s conduct unconstitutional, and damages including court costs and attorney fees."- WBIW Bloomington
Thank you for your donation. Any amount is appreciated. All funds will be used for legal and attorney fees. We can't do this without your help, as we are small farmers with very little savings.