Ohio farmer Bob Williams is fed up with the government making a profit on his hard work so that it can buy more “bombs and bullets.” He’d rather give his produce away than make a profit Washington can leech.
A local farmer has taken anti-war protests in a new direction this summer and declared that he’s not selling anything until the United States stops fighting wars.
Bob Williams’ farm, on the corner of Route 20 and Quarry Road, is “closed for peace.”
Williams, who calls himself “Bushel Bob,” decided to suspend his farm stand because it was indirectly supporting activities he didn’t like.
“I was filling out my Schedule C and I realized this farm money was buying bombs and bullets,” Williams said. “It’s bad enough they get money out of me at the gas pump.”
His realization posed a problem.
“I thought, ‘This is terrible, I don’t want to open,’” Williams said. “Why should I make this extra money?”
But he couldn’t just stop growing food; he needed another way to resolve his dilemma. His solution was to donate the food to a charity, the Santa Elena Project of Accompaniment (SEPA), a coalition of churches, organizations and individuals.
“This year, rather than have it open, I’m just growing for SEPA,” Williams said. “They come on Friday, pick everything and sell it.”
Williams met the members of SEPA at Oberlin Farmers Market, where they were fellow vendors. He chose the organization because of its work with human rights in Guatemala and for an important financial reason — the group is nonprofit.
“They can sell (the produce), and they don’t pay taxes,” Williams said.
This is not Williams’ first foray into peace projects.
An Air Force veteran, Williams helped to organize the Veterans for Peace post at the Oberlin Public Library.
Closing his stand, which he opened in , was the right choice for Williams, but it was still a difficult one to make.
“I kind of miss it,” Williams said. “I miss the people.”
But he stands fast to his decision, looking forward to the day when he can open again.
“I don’t want to support war and killing. I want to grow things,” Williams said.