You can’t have a lifestyle trend such as urban farming or edible frontyards without some controversy. Did you know that there really are many cities and towns with old bylaws or zoning codes that prohibit a person from actually eating any food they grow in their own yard! While some cities such as San Francisco, New York, Baltimore, Seattle and Detroit have begun to change laws and policy in support of urban agriculture, and as this trend continues to thrive because of food safety and security issues, the growing foodie locavore movement and urban hipster cred, many citizens in other cities and towns have been threatend with jail time or fines for planting a garden or organic farm on their own property.
Yes, it seems that vegetable gardens are just not good for you or the community in these towns. Who knew planting a garden or creating an urban agriculture landscape could be the sign of a budding citizen activist. Let the revolution unfold. Here is a round up of some of the latest news of people who want to live a healthier lifestyle and grow their own food but now are being treated like criminals for doing so.
Julie Bass in Oak Park, Michigan where after her front yard was torn up to replace a sewer line, she decided to plant a vegetable garden instead of the lawn that was originally there. But instead of being praised for her decision, she has been cited by code enforcement as a misdemeanor because they say that the edible garden is not a “suitable” front yard choice. City code says that all unpaved portions of a site shall be planted with grass or groundcover or shrubbery or other suitable live plant material. According to the Planning Director, suitable means common and since there are no other vegetable gardens in the city’s front yards the Bass garden is unsuitable. But, a quick look at Websters will tell you otherwise. You be the judge – does Julia Bass deserve jail time for planting a vegetable garden that even her neighbors might enjoy? Read more in this excerpt from the source.
Now take the story in Vancouver Island, Dirk Becker may soon be joining the lady in Michigan who was recently threatened with 93 days in jail for growing a garden in her front yard. Becker, of Lantzville, British Columbia turned his 2.5 acre property which was a gravel pit into a thriving organic farm. The Beckers were cited under the ”unsightly premises” bylaw for having piles of manure on their property. According to the post on Grist.org the letter came on the very day 8,000 compost bins were distributed to residents in their community. So gravel pit = okay but beautiful organic farm with real soil = not okay. Read the rest of the story and decide for yourself.
by April Philips