Plant a Vegetable Garden/Break the Law!
How soon do we forget. During World War One and World War Two, people were encouraged to plant vegetable gardens in their backyards, their front yards, in vacant lots, even in public parks. Back in the day they were praised for their efforts to grow their own foods, unlike today when they are threatened with stiff fines and even jail time for doing the same thing. Back in the day they were called “Good Citizens”, today they are called “Law Breakers”.
- The Drummondville Affair
- A Drummondville Ordinance.
- Julie Bass, of Oak Park, Michigan faced 93 days jail time.
- What is wrong with this picture?
The Drummondville Affair
In Drummondville, a community 100 Kilometers northeast of Montreal, Canada, a couple is waging war with the powers that be to keep their garden. The Beauchamp's, Michel and Josee, once grew beautiful flowers in their front yard, no one complained about that. Both of the Beauchamp's suffered from high blood pressure and wanted to eat healthier, so, this past spring, they replaced their beautiful flowerbeds with cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchinis, beets, onions, and Brussels sprouts, and other vegetables. The garden had a positive impact on the Beauchamp's, health. In Josee's words, "Michel lost 75 lb since March, I lost 25 lb."
A Drummondville Ordinance.
The Beauchamp's were unaware of a local ordinance that requires a front yard to be at least 30 percent grass. They may have escaped that violation, but neighbors complained about the garden, and that brought the heat down on them. The Beauchamp's, because of spiteful neighbors, was given an ultimatum, rip out your garden in the next five days or face fines of $100 to $300 per day. But it goes beyond this one case, because of those bitchy neighbors, Drummondville is planning to outlaw all front yard vegetable garden in the fall.
Julie Bass, of Oak Park, Michigan faced 93 days jail time.
The Beauchamp's were not the first gardeners to run afoul of the law for wanting to eat healthier. In 2011 Julie Bass ran afoul of the law when she placed raided vegetable gardens in her front yard and faced 93 days jail time for her ignorance of local codes. What code did she violate? When questioned, local code enforcement cited local codes that require front yards to have only “suitable” live plant material. City planners say that vegetables, for some reason, don’t qualify for the standard, even though they are certainly alive, and certainly are planted. Bass was given a warning, then a ticket, and then she was charged with a misdemeanor for violating the City of Oak Park’s planning code. A pretrial hearing was scheduled to be held on July 26, 2011 with Bass facing up to 93 days in jail. The city prosecutor dropped the charges on July 15th and then charged her with having an unlicensed dog. She had licensed her dog late and had paid the late fee at the time. It appears, at least to me, that the city of Oak Park was really out to get Julie on something.
What is wrong with this picture?
The Beauchamps own their property. Julie Bass owns her property. They pay their taxes on that property. What right does the city, town, or village have to tell them what they can grow in their front yard or any place else on their property? They should have no authority to dictate what anyone can or cannot grow on their property.
A Garden in Your Front Yard? Not here.