New Court Date Set

Kelly’s Working Well Farm will appear before a county judge on Monday, January 23, 2023, to determine whether or not our educational programming constitutes agri-tourism. For the past three years we have been subjected to an onslaught of aggressive actions by Bainbridge Township officials that when considered as a whole can only be interpreted as designed to intimidate and prevent us from operating our agricultural educational programming.

In Ohio agritourism is defined as “an agriculturally related educational, entertainment, historical, cultural, or recreational activity, including you-pick operations or farm markets, conducted on a farm that allows or invites members of the general public to observe, participate in, or enjoy that activity.” Kelly’s Working Well Farm offers summer farm camp and hosts The Chagrin Valley Learning Collective’s farm immersion homeschool program from September through May. In both of these programs participants are invited and allowed to observe, participate in and enjoy a host of activities ranging from gathering eggs and chasing chickens, to harvesting crops and cooking with ingredients from the farm, with uncountable other activities in between. 

See below for a description of the actions by Bainbridge since we signed an agreement this past spring finally allowing us to resume some of our previous activities.

A pattern of harassment

In the spring of 2022 we signed an agreement  with Bainbridge enabling us to finally allow friends and members of the public onto the farm. The comprehensive agreement covered the entire property and buildings, allowing us to conduct agritourism while providing a process for abating the remaining issues within the buildings. Within two weeks of signing the Bainbridge Zoning Inspector sent us a letter demanding that we demolish our small farm-stand, in spite of the fact that it was explicitly covered in the consent agreement.

In May we received a letter from Bainbridge stating that they did not believe that our farm camp qualified as agritourism and that we should not hold it. In August we were falsely accused by the Geauga Department of Public Health of selling food prepared on the farm. That was shortly followed by a claim from the State Fire Marshal’s office that we owed over $125,000 in fines for not abating the citations issued in November of 2019 – regardless of the fact that the buildings in question are not in fact school buildings as assumed in the original inspection, but have (finally) been recognized as agricultural buildings.

And during all of this time the Bainbridge Assistant Fire Marshall has been insisting that we pay his selected architecture firm several thousand dollars to act as a third party to approve plans and conduct inspections of our agricultural buildings when in fact he alone has jurisdiction and the power to resolve the citations that he issued.

Most recently the parent founding board members of the Chagrin Valley Learning Collective were deposed with requests to appear for questioning and provide records including financials, lists of enrolled families, and communications between them and the owners of KWWF. They have now been served with a new summons accusing them and the farm of operating a school or day-care on the farm premises.

It is clear that Bainbridge is monitoring our social media and farm emails desperate to find ways to harm the farm and our programming. But we have nothing to hide and are only trying to fulfill our mission of educating community members about how to live in harmony with the land and with all of the beings with whom we share it. We are not going anywhere and the sooner Bainbridge officials understand this the less time, energy and taxpayer dollars will be wasted.

To learn more about the history of this case visit this page: https://www.fairshake-els.org/clients-kellys-working-well-farm