To the Editor:
I was disappointed but not surprised when the MV Times ushered in this summer with a new and very tabloid-esque look. Ever since this new layout hit the streets I've been loath to even pick up this paper that I once adored, but nonetheless I still held some respect for the writing and reporting trapped beneath the gossipy headings and Internet fonts. Now I've lost that respect.
Steve Myrick's August 1 article [Field-to-table dinner gives Edgartown officials heartburn] about Morning Glory Farm's permitting process was laughably one-sided and wildly misleading. Since when is it a crime to host a wedding for your son on the farm where he was born and raised?
I just had the great pleasure of attending a field-fresh fundraising dinner at Beetlebung Farm in Chilmark, and although I couldn't afford the $100 ticket, some generous people could and I gained entry by volunteering my time in the kitchen. That's the sort of community spirit I find so abundant and enriching on this Island, and I have always felt that same spirit at Morning Glory.
I didn't hear anybody complaining two weeks ago about The FARM Institute's annual Meals in the Meadow fundraising dinner. In fact, the MV Times delivered a glowing report. The FARM Institute hired a gourmet caterer to prepare the food, wine was served in abundance, and the ticket costs a whopping $225. Why then did selectmen find it so bothersome that Morning Glory was asking to do the exact same things? And why was it important to exaggerate and amplify Jim Athearn's permitting requests in particular, when such permits are being issued to farms all over the Island (and the state) all the time?
In today's high-value real estate market such fundraising events are vital to the survival of small local farms and farmers who would not otherwise be able to keep their land. Martha's Vineyard currently has less than one percent of its land mass under regular food crop production for human consumption. In our global system of agro-industry food we need to be supporting small agriculture with all our focus, not biting the hand that feeds us.
It seems clear that certain individuals are holding a grudge against the Athearns and their current success (which, it should be noted, is the result of years of unending perseverance and dedicated hard work every single day, including yesterday, today, and tomorrow) and such a grudge should not be allowed to color the reporting that we all rely on to get accurate and truthful news.
This is not the unbiased journalism I had come to expect after 17 summers and winters of reading my local paper. This is targeted slandering, and I am deeply disappointed that the editor let this go to print.