This week, under a magnificent, hurricane-scrubbed sky, the clover meadow at Riner’s Sinkland Farm was filling with Ram 1500 hemis and Priuses with bumper stickers that said, “Eat Local,” “If you can read this, thank a teacher” and “Old Railfans never die, they just lose track”.

Photo by Liz Kirchner
Nearly 200 people filled the barn at Riner’s Sinkland Farms for a town hall meeting held by the Anthony Flaccavento’s campaign, as the farmer-candidate runs for the 9th District Congressional House seat.

Those messages set a tone of diversity and inclusion that wove through the Anthony Flaccavento town hall meeting as nearly 200 people, Auburn High School students, moms and dads with new babies, old people and young filled the wedding barn of Riner’s emblematic agro tourism spot greeting each other under the bunting-draped rafters and a glass bottle chandelier.

The campaign’s Riner town hall was the 82nd of a targeted 100 that are being held in public spaces meaningful to small southwest Virginia towns where agriculture, forestry and mining are central to the economies and cultures like Lebanon’s Farmers’ Market, the Chilhowie’s Town Hall, Norton’s Black Lung Rally, the community center in Meadows of Dan.

These town halls are providing a forum for the 61-year-old organic farmer and economic development expert from Abingdon to listen to the interests, concerns and hopes of southwest Virginian voters as the Nov. 6 election…

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