93 Days In Jail For Vegetable Garden

Image Source Excerpt from Huffington Post article: This isn’t your typical, garden-variety crime. After a warning, a ticket and now a misdemeanor charge, an Oak Park, Mich., woman faces up to 93 days in jail for refusing to remove a vegetable crop from her front lawn. Julie Bass says that she thought it would be “really cool” for the neighbors and kids to see a frontyard garden, but some city officials don’t appreciate the vegetable plot. “It just made me angry that the city can bully you into doing something when you’re not in violation of anything,” she said. According to Bass, the disagreement stems from a gray area in the city legislation which allows for decorative planting in the front yard but does not specifically address vegetable gardening. She planted the garden after a busted sewage pipe tore up her lawn. To fight the charges, Bass has started a blog — Oak Park Hates Veggies — to chronicle her battle with the authorities. “We now find ourselves in a storm of controversy worthy of some high level mischief. Seriously?” she wrote in an entry. “It’s a GARDEN. It’s not a high crime or treason or murder. IT’S VEGETABLES. And yes, we did throw in a few flowers.” Read the entire story here.

[box color=yellow]This story serves as an indication of how divorced from food production our culture has become, to the point where a vegetable garden is considered unsightly. It also highlights the importance of improving city codes and ordinances to allow for urban gardening.  Although this story is about Oak Park, Michigan, we have heard of similar (although not as drastic) occurrences in Florida.  Perhaps there are some.  We’d like to hear about any challenges folks in Florida have had with municipal codes and policies when trying to establish gardens.  We are especially interested in links to media coverage of such occurrences. -Ecology Florida[/box]


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