Saturday, January 12, 2019

Florida Couple Penalized For Growing Vegetable Garden in Their Front Yard Redeemed

Source: Miami Herald, Lawns v. Crops in the Continental U.S.

A few years ago, a story broke about a couple in Miami Shores who were penalized by their municipal government for violating an ordinance against growing edible plants in front yards and were forced to remove their garden after an 11th circuit court judge ruled that they did not have a right to grow vegetables and that the city's preoccupation with certain aesthetics took precedence over their property rights. Well it seems the pendulum has swung the other way and they may be getting the last laugh because a bill to ban municipal and county governments from banning front yard vegetable (and possibly fruit) gardens has been introduced in both chambers of the Florida Legislature: one in the state's senate community affairs committee and a verbatim version has also been filed in the state's house of representatives. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, the Republican representative that introduced the House bill articulated very good reasons for allowing residential vegetable gardening on whatever side of the fence:
Just yesterday, I toured a garden in my district that is being set up to help educate and empower its community through self-sustainability practices like gardening, Fetterhoff said. Yet in some areas of our state, local governments place arbitrary restrictions on their citizens’ right to provide for themselves using their own private property.

It is also worth mentioning that Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll made more efficient use of their land by using it to grow vegetables instead of simply growing grass, which consumes more water without fulfilling any basic needs (you can't eat it or sell it at a farmer's market).