The custom butcher shop will allow customers to select a Wholestone farmer and order a pig turned into Wholestone-branded products — from pork chops to pork loins.
…The custom butcher shop will allow customers to select a Wholestone farmer and order a pig turned into Wholestone-branded products — from pork chops to pork loins.
…“The cool part is it’s a way on a small scale to start introducing the great pork products these farmers have, and for those with interest, it’s going to be really easy (to order).” [Wholestone CEO Luke] Minion said. “I’m excited about it. We think it’s a great way to interact with the community in a nontraditional way. A large corporation wouldn’t think this way, but a family farm group will, so I think it’s here to stay” [Jodi Schwan, “Wholestone Farms to Open Custom Butcher Shop at Future Processing Plant Site,” Sioux Falls Business, 2022.07.14].
Hooray for tackling Sioux Falls food deserts with fresh, locally raised and chopped pork—
—oh, wait, that’s not what this new store is about. (The main food desert is in northwest Sioux Falls, and this northeast site won’t be in a walkable neighborhood anyway.) As South Dacola notes, the hastily announced Wholestone Farms butcher shop is just a clever way to escape possible voter rejection of the big porker’s proposed industrial slaughterhouse in northeast Sioux Falls.
On Tuesday, the Sioux Falls city clerk approved a municipal initiative petition calling on Sioux Falls voters to approve a ban on building any new slaughterhouses in city limits. That ban will be on the November ballot. But the initiative includes a grandfather clause that allows any existing slaughterhouse to expand its operations on its current site. While that clause aims to exempt Smithfield Foods and defuse their political opposition, it also opens the door for Wholestone to haul a shed onto its property, butcher a couple hogs before the election, and qualify to expand its little butcher shop into a 1,000-worker pork factory chopping and wienering 6,000,000 pungent piggies a year, no matter what Sioux Falls voters say this November.
The rich Republicans who are trying to keep Wholestone from stinking up Jeff Broin’s house and office and other important parts of Sioux Falls now find themselves in the awkward position of criticizing clever capitalists for subverting democracy:
In a statement, Robert Peterson, treasurer of the Smart Growth Sioux Falls campaign, said: “This smells like a hastily concocted attempt to thwart the will of over 10,000 concerned citizens of Sioux Falls who believe the city voters should have a say on any future slaughterhouses in Sioux Falls” [Schwan, 2022.07.14].
Yeah, Robert, it does smell. But Minion’s devilish scheme quite neatly guts the intent of your initiative.
Next stop for Peterson and the lawyers trying to stop Wholestone Farms should perhaps be the Sioux Falls Zoning office. The land immediately southeast of the I-229/Benson Road intersection is all zoned I-2, Heavy Industrial. A retail butcher shop doesn’t sound “heavy industrial” to me… but darn! RE1: Limited Retail Employment appears to be a secondary allowed use in such areas, as long as the butcher shop doesn’t exceed 4000 square feet or have a drive-through, loudspeakers, or a tattoo parlor.
Absent a zoning appeal, Peterson and his Republican friends might have to go all Dakota Access Pipeline on Wholestone, rallying protestors to block the road and chain themselves to the trailer when Luke Minion brings in the slaughtershed. Just think: Standing Rock had Water Protectors; Sioux Falls could have Air Protectors! Block Benson Road, picket to drive away workers (boy, I’ll bet you Republicans wish you supported unions now!)….
The Wholestone Farms butcher shop can thwart an affirmative initiative vote if it is “constructed and operating” before the ban would take effect. Per SDCL 9-20-5, municipal initiatives take effect immediately after the official canvass of election results, which has to happen within six business days of the election—or, this year, by November 16. Stage four months of civic action, keep Wholestone Farms from makin’ bacon in town through the week after the election, and the initiative can still stop the big slaughterhouse.
But I suspect picketing isn’t these Republicans’ style. Expect some heavy lawyering instead… although my quick reading of Sioux Falls zoning and the definition of “slaugherhouse” suggests Wholestone Farms has outfoxed its opponents.