Since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw prevalence in the American media beginning in December 2019 and January 2020, the way people have chosen to shop for food has changed. Many people turned to community-sourced food products. However, one Crofton, Maryland resident saw backlash from local representatives after months of supplying neighbors with locally sourced produce.
The Crofton resident, Sherlin Larsen, serves in her community as part of an organization called Community Supported Agriculture. At the start of the pandemic, Larsen took the initiative to be a go-between for Crofton residents and local farmers. She specifically interacted with farmers experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
Larsen’s neighbors typically come by her place every Monday to pick up fresh produce. Larsen said, “I set [the program] up and started it during the pandemic, but it grew into this understanding of what farmers and small-time growers go through.”
In turn, she said, “We saw there was support and a passion to support the local economy,” bringing the revenue back into Crofton’s local economy.
For a while, the program was going well, benefitting both local farmers and growers as well as Crofton residents. Another Crofton resident, Liz Dingman, said she had been getting at least produce through the local program every week since spring 2020.
All of a sudden, and out of the blue, Larsen received a letter in October from the Crofton Civic Association. The association serves as a local nonprofit that hosts and manages community happenings and events. It was a citation claiming her charitable program was disrupting community order and served as a nuisance.
Maryland Community Resident is Facing Confusion Following a ‘Nuisance’ Citation
Following Larsen’s receipt of the citation, she and other community members saw much confusion. It seemed none of the neighbors took issue with the communal program. The citation claims that she violated the private dwellings section of community standards. The cite reads: “No business or trade…or noxious or offensive activity shall be carried upon on any lot.”
Another Crofton resident showed enthusiastic support for both Larsen and the program. Frances Veasey said, “It’s not a business. It’s a community service. No one makes [a] dime off of this, especially Sherlin.” Veasey expressed further confusion, stating, “Every time I come to pick up my orders, there’s nobody here. It’s still a sleepy little street, and I don’t see where they are coming from calling it a nuisance.”
Nevertheless, certain people will perpetually take issue with frequently innocent actions. Larsen expressed intrigue surrounding the timing of the citation. She shared with WBAL TV she received the citation only weeks after she displayed symbols of some of her personal and political views. Outside her Crofton home, she put up an LGBTQ+ flag and a “Black Lives Matter” flag. Additionally, she put out a sign which displayed her political affiliations.
She couldn’t help but suspect some underlying prejudice somewhere in the community inspired the citation. “It doesn’t make sense why they waited six months to say, ‘Hey, I have an issue with what you are doing,'” Larsen pondered.
The nonprofit directly charged with issuing the citation said that it had nothing to do with Larsen’s personal beliefs, however, they made no further comment on the situation.