One couple’s infamous battle over the right to grow vegetables has resulted in a new bill.
A couple in Miami Shores, Florida, had been cultivating a front-yard vegetable garden for 17 years when, all of a sudden, they were told it was illegal. Apparently vegetable gardens were now only allowed in rear yards, but that wouldn’t work for this couple, as theirs was north-facing and didn’t get enough sun.
Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, indignant at the fact that vegetables were deemed more offensive than boats, RVs, jet skis, statues, fountains, gnomes, pink flamingoes, or Santa in a Speedo in one’s front yard, took their case to the Florida Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of Miami Shores’ right to control design and landscaping standards. In other words, it was a loss for Ricketts and Carroll.
But a few months later, victory was theirs. The front-yard garden ban touched a nerve with enough senators that a new bill just passed in mid-March, stating that Floridians are now able to grow fruit and vegetables in their front yards without fear of local government fines.
The Miami Herald cites Republican senator Rob Bradley, who sponsored the bill and described it as a “vast overreach.” Given how many food deserts exist and how hard it can be for many families to access fresh and affordable food, such bans are an absurd step in the wrong direction. more at linked headline
It’s interesting, too, if you read the full story, that a Republican was the one sponsoring it, while a Democratic senator voted against it because of fears these gardens will attract iguanas and rats (but that isn’t an issue for gardens in the back of a house.)
My landlord at these apartments had said he was going to put in some fruit trees out in front. Never happened. Maybe in another ten years or so, which is about as fast as he gets things done anyway.
I seem to recall a controversy about street-side gardens in Oregon or Washington state, too. I think they did get the permission to do that, and of course, it took off in popularity with everyone.
There is one house I drive by sometimes in this neighborhood that has a decent garden and small ‘orchard’ in their front yard. They’re also on a corner lot, so they have even more room to take over high-maintenance lawn/turf. I haven’t seen them expand any more, though, so maybe they have enough to take care of and get enough produce already.
Community gardens and city-farms are another area I’d like to see blossom in popularity again. We do have a few here in Houston, but not nearly enough. And plenty of lots where people aren’t building again after the floods from Harvey.