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Jail time over a garden?

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Post  bufforpington 2011-07-12, 10:52

I searched the forum and couldn't locate a post about this. My apologies if it's already being discussed. This woman is being threatened with 93 days in jail over a raised bed garden. Jail time over a garden? 601593

http://oakparkhatesveggies.wordpress.com/
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Post  Denese 2011-07-12, 11:24

That is TOTALLY ridiculous!! I live not too far from Oak Park. Maybe I'll go check it out.
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Post  Mamachibi 2011-07-12, 11:38

I know. Isn't that nuts? Our homeowner's association doesn't allow "food plants within view of the street" but I knew that before buying the hosue. If I want to risk it, it's a $50 a day fine. Her boxes are beautiful, even more so than my front yard full of weeds! I'd love to look out my window at so nicely kept a yard!

But, what's sauce for the First Lady, is apparently NOT sauce for the common citizen. Sad.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 2011-07-12, 14:45

I can't stand people imposing their will on others. It's one thing if the grass is 2 feet high and has goats in it. It's another to have a manicured garden in the best spot for sun. Sheesh.

One thing I learned early, the ones that do the complaining catch the brunt of teenage frustration. Then, the gritchers and moaners wonder why this has happened to them. I'll tell you why.....if you'd kept your darned mouth shut and your nose out of others' business, you would still be living in a peaceful neighborhood borrowing cups of sugar and pats of butter. Instead you are living in a war zone that YOU created.

The morons just can't see the bigger picture.
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Post  NaturesApprentice 2011-07-12, 14:57

Glad someone posted this. The revolution starts here! Smile Get involved in your area and help folks understand the sense of community and togetherness that comes from food independence. We shouldn't accept covenants like this just because it's always been like that.

@mamachibi - if weeds are acceptable, make them edible ones...see what happens then Very Happy .

[/soapbox]

-NA
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Post  Mamachibi 2011-07-12, 17:13

I have a bunch of "ornamental" kale that we eat, and edible flowers. The weeds are medicinal, nearly every one, and I use them for that. HA! Razz
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Post  MarcyG 2011-07-12, 18:48

That's insane
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Post  Miss M 2011-07-12, 20:42

I saw this too! Beyond keeping your place in good repair and your yard not a health hazard, neighbors should have no say in what you do with your land. It's got to be awful knowing you have a neighbor that would do this to you.

Planting veggies in her front yard was an excellent use of space. Like what BBG said, just think of the sense of community that neighborhood could have, and the added self-sufficiency, if they all had veggie gardens in their front and/or back yards? If this was considered a good thing, instead of a bad thing?

Just amazing that one of her neighbors quietly confided that she had corn growing in her back yard. Why should she have to feel she needs to whisper this?

On the bright side, since her story hit Drudge, she's getting worldwide attention. The local potentates involved are getting more emails and calls than they know what do do with. Twisted Evil
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Post  moswell 2011-07-12, 22:08

I read this story too, before it was posted here. Although I didn't post it here myself, it's funny to think that after only a few months of SFG the first thing I thought of when I saw the story was this board! At any rate, I thought I would be safe just not living in one of those obnoxious communities with a homeowner's association. I see that even towns are overstepping their boundaries now.

The person from whom I learned about SFG is a retired gentleman living in a closed-off community with a homeowner's association. I remember him telling me he had a few issues with his neighbors about growing a very small SFG in his back yard last year! I wish people would mind their own business. I mean, really, what harm can a well-maintained garden do in the scheme of things?
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Post  FarmerValerie 2011-07-13, 06:31

If you want more on the latest of HOA's, not garden related, check this story out.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Neighbor-vs-neighbor-as-apf-2524543580.html?x=0
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Post  Icemaiden 2011-07-13, 06:49

I may be the only person to say this, but here goes... from what I have
read this lady knew about the front garden planting regulation. She
called and asked the authority if she could plant a vegetable garden
and was told "no" but went ahead anyhow.
I think that if you choose
to live somewhere with regulations/bye-laws then you abide by those
laws - if you don't like them then campaign to get them changed.
Very
few vegetable gardens are things of beauty in the off season, and even
in the growing season then you can expect bits to look bedraggled. If
you are supposed to have a well kept lawn and shrubs then that is what
you should have (and it is irrelevant to point to someone else who does
not mow their lawn).
A house near me was designed by a (locally)
known architect and if you own that house then you are only allowed to
paint it in the colours that he chose, white with bits of yellow and
blue. I don't see that anyone would have the right to paint it purple
and grey, even if they thought it "suitable".
Laws are laws, guys. If you don't like them try and change them.
(Waiting for storm of messages Laughing )
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Post  moswell 2011-07-13, 07:29

Icemaiden wrote:I may be the only person to say this, but here goes... from what I have
read this lady knew about the front garden planting regulation. She
called and asked the authority if she could plant a vegetable garden
and was told "no" but went ahead anyhow.
I think that if you choose
to live somewhere with regulations/bye-laws then you abide by those
laws - if you don't like them then campaign to get them changed.
Very
few vegetable gardens are things of beauty in the off season, and even
in the growing season then you can expect bits to look bedraggled. If
you are supposed to have a well kept lawn and shrubs then that is what
you should have (and it is irrelevant to point to someone else who does
not mow their lawn).
A house near me was designed by a (locally)
known architect and if you own that house then you are only allowed to
paint it in the colours that he chose, white with bits of yellow and
blue. I don't see that anyone would have the right to paint it purple
and grey, even if they thought it "suitable".
Laws are laws, guys. If you don't like them try and change them.
(Waiting for storm of messages Laughing )

No, I agree, she knew, she pays the price. I just think the law is ridiculous. And am really not a fan of homeowner's associations for similar reasons. But then, I'd pay attention and wouldn't move to a town or neighborhood where I knew I couldn't do what I wanted (within reason).
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Post  camprn 2011-07-13, 07:40

I would have to guess that the original intent was to get folks to tend their wee patch of ground and not let it go to weeds, the whole thing is rather vague. I think that there is a clause in the ordinance that allows for a vegetable patch and I believe she will prevail. HOORAY FOR VEGETABLE GARDENS! I like her garden, all she needs now is a grid; the beds are going to fill out beautifully. flower
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Post  walshevak 2011-07-13, 07:52

This is the reason I skipped over every house that had a HOA. Bought where there not one. But now I'm hearing that villages/towns are imposing a no gardening rule. Where does it end?


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Post  NaturesApprentice 2011-07-13, 08:18

Icemaiden wrote:I may be the only person to say this, but here goes... from what I have
read this lady knew about the front garden planting regulation. She
called and asked the authority if she could plant a vegetable garden
and was told "no" but went ahead anyhow.
I think that if you choose
to live somewhere with regulations/bye-laws then you abide by those
laws - if you don't like them then campaign to get them changed.
Very
few vegetable gardens are things of beauty in the off season, and even
in the growing season then you can expect bits to look bedraggled. If
you are supposed to have a well kept lawn and shrubs then that is what
you should have (and it is irrelevant to point to someone else who does
not mow their lawn).
A house near me was designed by a (locally)
known architect and if you own that house then you are only allowed to
paint it in the colours that he chose, white with bits of yellow and
blue. I don't see that anyone would have the right to paint it purple
and grey, even if they thought it "suitable".
Laws are laws, guys. If you don't like them try and change them.
(Waiting for storm of messages Laughing )

No storm...all opinions are valid, and you make a solid point. I will submit, however, that the ambiguity in the law is the root of the issue. It states that only "suitable" plant material is allowed on the lawn area of residences. How many people would define a vegetable garden as "unsuitable"?

When asked by media what "suitable" meant to him, city planner Kevin Rulkowski said suitable means "common:" lawn, nice shrubs, and flowers. However, the city ordinance does not specifically state that those are the only allowed plant materials. And if their intent was "common", they probably should have used that word instead of "suitable". And if everyone had a vegetable garden, those would be "common"...how bad would that be?

You are also correct about the laws. I also believe that if you don't like them, you should work to change them. An unfortunate reality, however, is that most people are change-averse and without a strong catalyst (read: nationwide media attention), the city council would have little intent or motivation to make a change to allow this garden. NONE of the articles I've read on the subject quote city officials as saying "if she only followed due process, we might have let her have the garden". Each quote I've seen portrays them as standing their ground on the basis of an inane law. "It just 'is'!"

Fossil fuels are limited and will run out. As they deplete, prices will soar (some might argue they have already)...all those trucks that bring your food to the grocery store use fuel and none of the suppliers are going to eat that cost increase; you are.

Planting food releases you from that destructive relationship...or at least lets you "see other people".

Water is also a finite resource. If managed incorrectly, we'll run out...not forever, but long enough to make people wish they had used it better. Outside of concrete slabs and asphalt, well manicured lawns are about the least efficient way to 'store' water and they provide little benefit beyond aesthetics.

Without challenge, or confrontation, there is no thought of "right" or "wrong"...only "what is" or "what always has been". It takes a revolution to wake the masses, even if it starts with a single vegetable seed. Each person in this forum plants a tiny revolution every season...a small message that we are not just consumers, we are producers, and we mean to show other people how to produce, as well.

Just because it's there, doesn't mean it should be that way any longer...

[/manifesto]

Thanks for listening.
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Post  GloriaG 2011-07-13, 08:24

I also agree with Icemaiden.

Homeowners spend a lot of money to move into a neighborhood that they like and feel comfortable with. Part of the reason for moving-in is the appearance of the other land and/or houses in the area.

In some areas HOA's and community laws are put in place to help ensure that the community remains comfortable for all the homeowners, and it is every homeowners responsibility to abide by those regulations. At least until they can have the regulations changed appropriately.

It's not only disrespectful to the other homeowners in the community to put her garden in the front yard, but it's flagrantly illegal in her area.

However, the worst part of all is that the fall-out from all the publicity generated by this makes it a losing situation for everyone - including other home gardeners.
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Post  Mamachibi 2011-07-13, 09:04

I have to disagree with your assessment of "flagrantly illegal." The law states that yards should be planted with "suitable" plant matter. It's the interpretation of "suitable" that is at issue. What is more "suitable" for a single mom of 5...grass plus petrochemical inputs that yield nothing or nicely kept garden that yields food?

Would the community really be better served if she put in grass and had to go on government benefits to feed her children? Really?
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Post  FarmerValerie 2011-07-13, 09:08

Icemaiden has a very valid point, however I have heard from some who live in communities that have HOA's and read stories of being fined for parking too close to the road when just running in the house to retrieve something they forgot, like 60 seconds worth of parking. I've even had someone tell me there is someone in their neighborhood whose job is to walk around with a ruler, measuring the grass. I think the main problem is that some are sticking to the letter of the law, not the intent, and have nothing better to do then spy on their neighbors. Some even take themselves and their position too seriously. The whole intent is to maintain the area that city/county does not (or home owners prefer them not to) and to let's face it, keep out those who have sofas on the porch and broke down vehicles in their driveway, which both sides have the right to do so (not want to live next door to that, and have those in the yard). I mean come on, there have been stories of giving someone a fine because they have tomato plants on their back deck in containers, yes it's happened. Maybe this woman asked for it, maybe not, but I think the point this story and the link to the one I posted where HOA's are forclosing on homes (even ones where the bank is not owed a dime) is that some of those who are on the boards of HOA's are getting out of hand. We even now have lawyers who specialize in HOA problems. All of this is why I live in the country and in TX, of course we are also the family who does occasionally have a sofa on the porch and a broke down vehicle in the driveway, and of course the manditory burn pile.
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Jail time over a garden? Empty Square foot gardening unacceptable in Michigan?

Post  curious 2011-07-13, 15:55

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/julie-bass-of-oak-park-faces-misdemeanor-charge-for-vegetable-garden-20110630-wpms

A friend posted this on Facebook and I just saw it. Now this is an example of government over reach that I can get truly annoyed about. Seems like, with the economy and everything that there'd be a lot of people considering this sort of thing. Actually, it would probably do a lot of good if most everyone adopted the practice. And it has to look a whole lot better than the way the city left it after they were done with the work they were doing? Maybe if they planted grass or a ground cover (or mulch or rocks) in between the square foot sections? I'd tell the city to come after me when I was completely done with the project or go after everyone whose landscaping projects weren't complete... Wonder if the city has a problem with anything edible, such as fruit trees, etc.?

Has anyone ever heard of such an inhospitable reaction to square foot gardening? We live in the "country" and so nobody would care if we did something like this. Heck, they'd probably think we'd upgraded the place. But we do have some neighbors that have square foot gardening planters right next to the road that they fill with tomato plants every year and we all think that they're really gorgeous when all the those big, tall, indeterminate plants set fruit.


Last edited by curious on 2011-07-13, 16:01; edited 1 time in total
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Post  sfg4uKim 2011-07-13, 16:00

I had a LOT of people send this article to me.

HOWEVER I think the woman SHOULD be put in jail! Where are the grids? Isn't that a crime? Laughing Laughing Laughing

Seriously, it is just awful what they're doing.

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Post  TN_GARDENER 2011-07-14, 03:45

Less government = more freedom

Elections matter.
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Post  camprn 2011-07-14, 04:30

This is about this ladies garden. And it's looking good! She is a blogger and she has been keeping up her sense of humor and doing gardening with her kids! I think like the rest of us, she is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her ripe tomatoes!
I love you ooooooh, r i p e t o m a t o e s! Soon, very soon! I love you
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Post  NHGardener 2011-07-14, 05:37

Just a reminder, I don't think this situation involved a Homeowners Association - I think it's just a city thing. A vague, senseless, dumb city regulation that bureaucrats just loooovvveeeee.

And when some catastrophe happens, guess who's going to be sneaking into this woman's garden to steal veggies to feed their families? They'll be singing a different tune then.

FWIW, I think raised bed gardens and chickens out to be city ordinance requirements, especially in this day & age. Victory gardens and all that.

rofl
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Post  martha 2011-07-14, 18:25

ksroman wrote:...HOWEVER I think the woman SHOULD be put in jail! Where are the grids? Isn't that a crime? Laughing Laughing Laughing ...
Jail time over a garden? 262465



What is this that people are referring to on this thread - TOWNS and CITIES disallowing gardening???? I don't know how many states have "Right to Farm" laws. The below links explain it better than I can.

I, very regretfully and reluctantly, agree that if someone purchases a house and knows that there are bylaws restricting certain outdoor behavior, then they really should abide by those rules.

But what is up with cities and/or towns having no gardening laws??????????

Would someone please point me to information, so I can write to somebody's Congressman/woman???

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/rural-neighbors-right-farm-29869.html

http://www.mass.gov/agr/righttofarm/index.htm
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Post  jamesindetroit 2011-07-14, 19:06

Charges supposedly dropped...but...kudos to this mom from Michigan trying to utilize her own land to feed her family.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/07/08/michigan-resident-faces-3-days-in-jail-for-vegetable-garden/?test=latestnews
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