Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hard Time

This is startlingly ridiculous.  

A woman in Michigan is facing trial and a potential 93 day jail sentence for the crime of planting vegetables in her front yard.  Due to repairs on a sewage pipe beneath her property in May of this year, Julie Bass was left with the hefty task of restoring the damage to her lawn.  Rather than install sod, Julie decided to use the piles of dirt as an opportunity to create raised beds for the purpose of growing food.  You know, criminal things like squash and peppers.  The city of Oak Park has now charged Julie with violation of a city ordinance that claims residents must cover their grounds with "suitable live plant material."  Question is, who defines suitable?  Julie's attorney claims that her gardens fall under an exemption to the ordinance that states a provision for "flower gardens, plots of shrubbery, vegetable gardens and small grain plots."

Let's keep in mind, too, that Julie's property resides in a neighborhood where she is bound by no HOA or covenant.  

Of all people, I certainly understand the desire to rest my eyes on things neat, orderly, and most definitely beautiful.  If you're going to grow food in your front yard, keep it presentable.  I might not have chosen to construct raised beds in the same way Julie did, but she keeps them nicely AND she is growing her own food.  I can't find fault (legally or otherwise) in her attempts.  You know this movement is near and dear to my heart.  More power to you, Julie.

What are your thoughts?

For the full story, click here.

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