I have a vegetable garden. In my front yard.
I never even gave a thought to the fact that it might be illegal.
But it might be. It could be.
There was a case last year about a woman in a sleepy little town of 29,000 people. Oak Park, Michigan. She planted vegetables in her front yard to save money. When her municipality caught wind of it they told her it wasn’t allowed. Vegetables weren’t “suitable” for a front yard.
Unlike the sofa, tricycle, and dog crap on my neighbour’s front yard.
So city officials warned Julie Bass, ticketed her and then finally charged her with a misdemeanour. You might recognize that word, although it’s usually used in reference to a thug on Law & Order. A misdemeanour is just below a felony (murder, rape, terrorism) and just above a petty crime (jay walking, public drunkness).
Let us keep in mind she was growing vegetables. Not pot. Or crystal meth or automatic assault rifles.
Julie Bass faced 93 days in jail if she didn’t take her vegetable garden out. Can you image? Jail food would be absolute torture for someone used to fresh picked vegetables.
She left her vegetable garden right where it was. The city decided to drop the charges but said they might take a look at the issue again later.
When I heard about this story I’ll be honest with you, I thought. Pfttt. Something that ridiculous would never happen in Canada. We don’t have those kind of rules. Or those kinds of politicians.
Turns out we do.
Case in point: Drummondville, Quebec. Just last week a couple in Drummondville, Quebec was warned by their municipality that if they didn’t get rid of their front yard vegetable garden, they would be fined. And fined and fined and fined.
And this time the city doesn’t appear to be backing down. Not yet anyway.
If you aren’t familiar with the story there’s a good article from The Huffington Post here including pictures of the garden to get you up to speed.
As if often the case in these times, someone created an online petition to support the couple.
So if you believe homeowners have the right to grow vegetables in their front yard, sign the petition. The petition signs you in through Facebook for some reason. Doesn’t post anything to Facebook or do anything weird … just letting you know in case it startles you, like it startled me.
Between the chickens and the front yard vegetable garden I’m probably this close (fingers an inch apart) to the clink. I wouldn’t do well in the clink. They hardly ever allow livestock and I don’t think they have wireless.
And all of the food in that picture above? I picked it from my very own front yard vegetable garden. We ate every bit of it for dinnerlast night.