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Criticism of Gatherings Grove project uninformed

December 27, 2018
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

I wish to respond to a recent letter to the editor from Max Christian. In his letter, "Gatherings Grove 'project'-more questions than answers," he objects to an affiliate of the Twelve Tribes Commu-nities building temporary housing on a 25-acre property they own. The property, located on Pine Island, is scheduled to become a full-time mango farm, and is operated and harvested by The Community of Fort Myers, LLC.

Mr. Christian clearly does not take this enterprise seriously, as evidenced by his frequent use quotation marks, nor does he know this community well. How do I know that? There is no evidence in his letter that he has ever talked to any members of the community. The letter asks, "Who are these 'friends and family members' of the group?" By simply asking that question, the letter writer proves how uninformed he is about this group of quiet and peaceful people.

I have interacted with this community nationally, and frequented several of their businesses. I know them from Island Pond, Vermont; Rutland, Vermont; Plymouth, Massachusetts; and now Fort Myers, Florida. Twice, I have celebrated Sabbat with them, and had a wonderful time. I like their businesses so much, that when I visit Rutland, Vermont or Plymouth, Massachusetts, I make sure to patronize their restaurants there. Some of the community members in Rutland I consider to be friends, and I cannot wait to see them when I am there. Their members are good and decent people, who work hard to support their successful enterprises.

The writer is clearly using a dog whistle when refers to, "alleged 'temporary workers.'" Does he think the community is going to hire undocumented workers? Once again, there is a lack of knowledge about this group. If one were to spend any time talking to them, one would learn that members from all over the country go to areas where seasonal work is needed, such as mango harvesting in the spring, or fishing in Alaska. And who are these workers? They are truly members of their community, their families, and friends.

I suggest we not waste any more time answering ill-informed questions, and show proper respect to a group of people who want to own their property, work it as they choose, pray as they want, and live in the quiet and peace they deserve.

Thomas Pound

Cape Coral



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