Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Want to grow your own vegetables – better check with City Hall – Growers of Illegal Vegetable Gardens face Fine and Imprisonment!

The Patriot Garden - from the Helverston's

Jason & Jennifer Helvenston of Orlando are facing fines for growing a vegetable garden in their front yard – the complete story here on Apparently the City of Orlando and this family have been at odds over the vegetable garden for months – flowers are ok, so are shrubs, but tomato plants and other vegetables are simply not appropriate. Go figure. They are facing fines of up to $500 a day until the garden is removed. Another case in Michigan’s Oak Park where in July of 2011, a woman faced criminal charges and jail time for growing vegetables in her front yard(ABC News). The situation arose when the woman decided to plant a garden of vegetables, rather than peonies, the city ordinance prohibits gardens that are, by definition, not suitable. In that case it was a question of what one might consider suitable another might not.

There are laws on city books across the nation that governs how a property owner uses the land which they own. These laws are generally put on the “books” by city or town council in order to maintain a particular “look” about the area – a beatification effort of sorts. The problem lays in the perception of what may or may not be beautiful to the eyes of the beholder – especially in the two cases mentioned above One might also point to that pesky document – the U.S. Constitution, but that’s not normally consulted when thinking of what might enhance property values.

It sounds a bit ridiculous to those on the outside looking in – frankly, if one wants to grow roses or tomatoes, it should not matter, except that in today’s economy the tomatoes might be the better choice- given one can eat the tomatoes!

The couple in Florida have set up a website where one learn how to set up their own Vegetable Garden, one that is environmentally sound and fiscally sane – one might also sign-up on the site, and receive a packet of seeds and a lawn sign to show support for the couple, who rightly feel their Constitutional rights have been trampled upon.

From this perspective, one can purchase patio tomatoes and other vegetables, plant any type of garden one wishes, and if one can produce a plant that actually bears fruit, good for them and good for the neighbors (sharing). Although this blogger lacks a green thumb, a growing season does not begin when the attempt at growing both flowers, shrubs and yes, fruits and vegetables is made – the outcome is normally dismal, however, there is something very satisfying in eating that one tomatoes that appears on the vine. In all seriousness – it does offer families the ability to save money on grocery bills, those items that are not generally included in inflation reports. We know, from news reports that the cost of food is going to be raising substantially in the coming months – from meat to wheat – we will all be paying more at the grocery store. What better way to supplement than by growing one’s own food?

Consider visiting to learn a little bit more and show some support (Like them on Facebook) When the snow thaws – plant a vegetable garden in your yard – be prepared to check your City or Town laws to insure that your prepared for any backlash, fines or the possibility of imprisonment. Imagine that – facing a fine for growing a vegetable garden in the United States of America?

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