Jailed for growing one’s own produce??

I honestly just don’t even know what to say about this one…yet had to share it.  Apparently there is a woman in Oak Park, MI who when re-landscaping her front yard after a sewer line was replaced, decided to build five raised beds and plant vegetables rather than re-seeding a lawn. She’s now being told that the yard is “not to city code” as the vegetables do not fit the criteria of “suitable” plant matter.

Julie's Front Yard Garden

FOX Detroit article about Julie Bass

Benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables (from The Benefits of Growing Your Own Food) :

  1. Improve your family’s health. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you and your family can do to stay healthy. When they’re growing in your backyard, you won’t be able to resist them, and their vitamin content will be at their highest levels as you bite into them straight from the garden. Parents, take note: A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that preschool children who were almost always served homegrown produce were more than twice as likely to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day—and to like them more—than kids who rarely or never ate homegrown produce.
  2. Save money on groceries. Your grocery bill will shrink as you begin to stock your pantry with fresh produce from your backyard. A packet of seeds can cost less than a dollar, and if you buy heirloom, non-hybrid species, you can save the seeds from the best producers, dry them, and use them next year. If you learn to dry, can, or otherwise preserve your summer or fall harvest, you’ll be able to feed yourself even when the growing season is over.
  3. Reduce your environmental impact. Backyard gardening helps the planet in many ways. If you grow your food organically, without pesticides and herbicides, you’ll spare the earth the burden of unnecessary air and water pollution, for example. You’ll also reduce the use of fossil fuels and the resulting pollution that comes from the transport of fresh produce from all over the world (in planes and refrigerated trucks) to your supermarket.
  4. Get outdoor exercise. Planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting add purposeful physical activity to your day. If you have kids, they can join in, too. Be sure to lift heavy objects properly, and to stretch your tight muscles before and after strenuous activity. Gardening is also a way to relax, de-stress, center your mind, and get fresh air and sunshine.
  5. Enjoy better-tasting food. Fresh food is the best food! How long has the food on your supermarket shelf been there? How long did it travel from the farm to your table? Comparing the flavor of a homegrown tomato with the taste of a store-bought one is like comparing apples to wallpaper paste. If it tastes better, you’ll be more likely to eat the healthy, fresh produce that you know your body needs.
  6. Build a sense of pride. Watching a seed blossom under your care to become food on your and your family’s plates is gratifying. Growing your own food is one of the most purposeful and important things a human can do—it’s work that directly helps you thrive, nourish your family, and maintain your health. Caring for your plants and waiting as they blossom and “fruit” before your eyes is an amazing sense of accomplishment!
  7. Stop worrying about food safety. With recalls on peanut butter, spinach, tomatoes and more, many people are concerned about food safety in our global food marketplace. When you responsibly grow your own food, you don’t have to worry about contamination that may occur at the farm, manufacturing plant, or transportation process. This means that when the whole world is avoiding tomatoes, for example, you don’t have to go without—you can trust that your food is safe and healthy to eat.
  8. Reduce food waste. Americans throw away about $600 worth of food each year! It’s a lot easier to toss a moldy orange that you paid $0.50 for than a perfect red pepper that you patiently watched ripen over the course of several weeks. When it’s “yours,” you will be less likely to take it for granted and more likely to eat it (or preserve it) before it goes to waste.

Is it just me?  Or is this nuts?  What do you think?  Should she be forced to conform to neighborhood standards and seed a lawn in her front yard???

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About Melissa's Meanderings

Interests: Green Living, The Environment, Animal Rights, Reading, Gardening, Home Improvement, Pets, Vegetarianism, Photography.
This entry was posted in Green Living/Vegetarianism and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Jailed for growing one’s own produce??

  1. Matthew says:

    It’s not just you. It’s nuts.

    I think people need to band together and start sending her yard gnomes (and various other lawn type creatures). Then the city can decided which is worse. Her front-yard-garden or the abundance of fantasy and woodland faux creatures in the lawn.

  2. m says:

    Is there as address where I can send her surplus seeds from my back yard/side yard/front yard garden? Clearly she needs an edible screen of sweet peas or something. Tell the gestapo they’re pretty flowers….

  3. Hi, firstly I want to thank you for your sweet comment on my kitchen makeover post. Thanks for visiting me today. Secondly, I feel sorry for this woman in your post and the stupid city by-laws that people make. I hope she fights this and gets some support from others, including her neighbours. Thanks again for visiting and I hope you have a great week. Blessings, Pamela

    • Not sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but loved the kitchen redo. And yes…I certainly hope the neighbors support her (that is, the neighbors who were not the ones that filed the complaint in the 1st place!)

  4. Amy says:

    We have a cute little garden next to our patio on our first floor apartment and I love it! I would be so sad if someone tried to take it away. And this is just crazy! What kind of “city code” is there for growing veggies? DUMB, DUMB, DUMB! I’m sure people can trash their front porches in the city, but this lady can’t have a front yard garden?

  5. Totally not nuts. Vegetation, I think? 😉

  6. Nicole says:

    Wow… Some city officials have too much time on their hands. 🙂

  7. SuziCate says:

    It outrages me when communities set standards like this. That put far too much importance on what “they” deem attractive and couldn’t care less about healthy. Trust me, I’ve seen some of the most atrocious yard decorations…I’d prefer to look at veggies any day!

  8. That is so ridiculous! What is this world coming to?

  9. Megan says:

    Wow! That is incredibly ridiculous! Sounds like they need to stop wasting tax dollars and have the city officials deals with real issues… That is just crazy!

  10. Wendy S. says:

    Not only do I find this situation ridiculous but I find it scary that other “human” beings are trying to stop a woman who is not only taking care of herself but Earth Mother as well…Sending out lots of blessing to this woman and all of us who want to make a conscious and loving decision to help heal the earth.

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