Randy Buchler, a 49-year-old Michigan farmer who has helped many farmers around the country, needs your help. Randy suffered a stroke on June 28th and has thousands of dollars in medical bills that he is trying to pay off. He could use a hand from the local food movement he has served so well. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise funds for him. [Shortlink to share: gf.me/u/uhqjj9]
Randy and his wife Libby own and operate Shady Grove Farm in Gwin, Michigan, a small diversified farm producing eggs, honey, wool, and produce. Along with his two children, the family has made the farm an educational resource for Randy’s local community and school children [watch video]. Randy is best known for winning a major court victory in 2012 against Forsythe Township; the township had attempted to shut down his farm on the grounds that it was a public nuisance since it was on land zoned residential, not agricultural.
The Michigan Right to Farm Act (RTFA) protects commercial farms, regardless of zoning, that are in compliance with applicable agricultural management practices (GAAMPs) established by the Michigan Commission on Agriculture. The judge held that the RTFA did protect Shady Grove Farm since the farm’s practices were in line with the GAAMPs.
As impressive as that court victory was, what Randy has done since has topped that success. Buchler’s case received attention not only in Michigan but all around the U.S. and even internationally. Shortly after the court ruling, Randy began receiving requests for help from farmers in similar situations in Michigan, other states, and even other countries. If a Michigan farmer was having a zoning or right-to-farm dispute with a local government, one of the first calls the farmer made was usually to Randy Buchler. He has consulted with many farmers, not charging a dime for his services.
For the 6-½ years since his court case, Randy has continued to give farmers advice and the benefit of his experience without charge. At the time he suffered the stroke, Randy was working to protect Hidden Creek Farm, a Michigan farm that a rich neighbor and the town of Muskegon had filed private and public nuisance lawsuits against–lawsuits that, if successful, would shut down the farm. Randy filed public records requests to help the farm, raised money for farm and other expenses, and communicated daily with the farm owners; basically, he took on the defense of the farm as a “second job” in addition to his own full-time farming operation. In working on behalf of Hidden Creek Farm, Randy showed the same smarts and fearlessness that made him victorious in his own case, successfully challenging the town of Muskegon to release the truth about its actions against Hidden Creek.
For someone who has given so much of his time on a voluntary basis to help other small farms in Michigan and around the U.S. make a living, Randy Buchler is more than deserving of your support. Here’s an opportunity to give back to someone who has unconditionally given of his talent and experience.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you can afford to help out Randy, please click on the GoFundme link below or mail a donation to: Randy Buchler, 254 S. Francis Mine Dr., Gwinn, MI 49841