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Honoring Lucinda Hart-Gonzalez and Protecting Paradise

April 29, 2012

Stephen Cleghorn, an organic farmer with a pasture full of goats scampering and playing “king of the hill” in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, farmed the land alongside his wife, Lucinda Hart-Gonzalez, for over a decade before she died of lung cancer last November. Stephen and Lucinda farmed Paradise — Paradise Gardens and Farm, that is — since May 12th, 2005.

Lucinda Hart-Gonzalez

No one who heard Stephen speak about the loss of Lucinda, at the rally in Trenton last November celebrating the new and fragile moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin, will ever forget that moment.

Stephen has honored Lucinda in several ways since her death, including his essay, “After Battling Fracking and Cancer, Lucinda Lost and Found” and his work on a book Lucinda had begun about her joy in the life of their farm.

Now Cleghorn invites all who care to come to Paradise Gardens and Farm on May 10th to honor Lucinda’s life and work, and to declare Paradise “A Farm Inviolate of Gas Drilling.”

2771 Paradise Road, Reynoldsville, PA 15851

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (lunch and solidarity afterwards)

Contact: Stephen Cleghorn jstephencleghorn@yahoo.com

In a declaration inviting the public, the press, gas drilling industry reps, and elected officials to join him in the May 10th ceremony honoring Lucinda and the land, Cleghorn states, “There is not a diamond bit hard enough to pierce this love for the creative Earth that sustains us, at least not here where I stand.”

Lucinda and Stephen both researched and spoke out about Marcellus Shale gas drilling; their farm is directly threatened, since someone else owns the mineral rights beneath the surface of their land and has leased those rights away against their will. On May 10th, Stephen says,

Those gathered on that day will learn a new meaning of “surface rights.” The rights of all beings whose lives are sustained at the surface and depend upon the clear, clean water that runs upon and below it will be declared the inalienable rights by which human affairs are to be conducted.  I will speak of the impermeable love of the land that is present just below our feet like an invisible barrier that no drilling rig can penetrate.

Lucinda was deeply worried about Marcellus Shale gas drilling before she died. She posted on the farm’s website,  “At best, it will forever change our idyllic landscape. At worst, we could lose our clean air, our health, our herd, our water, our organic status and our farm. We have already lost our peace of mind.”

Stephen’s extraordinary declaration and invitation to one and all to come to the public ceremony on May 10th is posted on his own blog, “angerandcourage” which calls on the “lovely daughters of Hope,” anger and courage, “to bring an end to fracking for methane gas in the Marcellus Shale.”

Here are links to three of his essays — the Declaration and Invitation on his own angerandcourage blog; and two previous essays published on Truthout. In “Lucinda Lost and Found,” he comments, “Lucinda was just so tickled that she had become an organic farmer that she wrote almost exclusively in the key of joy.” Their research together led to his publishing “The Case For A Moratorium,” a powerpoint presentation dedicated to Lucinda.

On “angerancourage”: A Farm Inviolate of Gas Drilling May 10 2012 (published March 29th 2012)

On “truth-out.org”: “After Battling Fracking and Cancer Lucinda Lost and Found” (published (January 15th 2012)

Also on “truth-out.org”: “Wagering With Our Lives“: (published February 17 2011)

Kids communing at Paradise Gardens and Farm, April 2012. Photo: Iris Marie Bloom

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