Friday, July 8, 2011

If You've Got It, Flaunt It!

Gardeners are not a shy lot.  For all that garden parties and garden tours bring up image of demur ladies, begloved and wearing oversized hats, the fact is that we are an earthy people.  We like to get our hands dirty.  We like to dig and fertilize and then dig some more.

Even off-season, while our gardens sleep, we sit, huddled under a blanket, vigorously thumbing through colorful photos of what can only be described as garden porn.  (Or seed catalogues.)

It should come as no surprise that gardeners will do what they've got to do to raise some tomatoes from seed, to fill their yard with bodacious butternuts, and to transform a small, squiggly plant into a groping cucumber vine.  We are sun-worshipers, the lot of us, and where the sun goes, we plant!

EVEN IF IT IS IN THE FRONT YARD!

Yes, we are that bold.  We will plant where we need to.  Where there is sun and space.  We will grow healthy food for our families.  We will harvest to our heart's content.  We will do it out in public if we have to.  And we will go to jail for it.

Wait?  What?  Go to jail for planting vegetables in the front yard?  Or you out of your raised bed?

The criminal vegetable gardens!  Photo from Oak Park Hates Veggies.

That's crazy talk but apparently that is what is happening in Oak Park, Michigan.  Julie Bass had the gall to grow vegetables in her front yard and now is facing potential jail time for trying to grow her own.
She has been documenting the whole incredible journey on her blog, Oak Park Hates Veggies, or on the Oak Park Hates Veggies Facebook page.  She is facing 93 days in the SLAMMER for having a few raised beds in her front yard.

And the urban homestead and gardening communities are fighting back!  If you care about personal freedom, if you care about growing your own food, if you care about keeping food costs down or knowing what you eat, please stand up for a gardener's right to do it in the front yard.

Join the Oak Park Letter Writing Campaign.  Sign the Petition.  Send physical letters (emails are apparently bouncing since the campaign started) to the following folks trying to lock up a gardener for gardening in public.  Fight for your right to garden!

City Planner:
Kevin Rulkowski
248.691.7450 
krulkowski@ci.oak-park.mi.us      

City Manager (Mr. Rulkowski's boss):
Rick Fox
248.691.7406 
rfox@ci.oak-park.mi.us
      
Mayor:
Gerald E. Naftaly
248.691.7410      
gnaftaly@att.net

Mayor Pro Tem:
Michael M. Seligson
248.691.7410
mmseligson@comcast.net

City Council:
all phone calls go to 248.691.7410

Angela Diggs Jackson
adjack@comcast.net

Paul Levine
paul4oakpark@yahoo.com

Emily Duplessis
duplessis2@aol.com


All snail mail goes to the person you are mailing it to
c/o City of Oak Park
13600 Oak Park Blvd
Oak Park, MI 48237




Full disclosure - I am a former front yard vegetable gardener.  I now do it in the back.  Not because I am ashamed.  I moved and am just following the sun!  Check out the following links for my former posts on front yard edibles.


5 comments:

knutty knitter said...

I did sign the petition already. As a non American from the other side of the world, I didn't feel relevant enough (or close enough) to do more.

From various rather derogatory remarks by others, I'd add 'Way to make Americans look stupid....again'. I think their pr machine needs to take a long hard look at itself!

viv in nz

sustainamom said...

This is all so ridiculous, but I actually hope it goes far enough to set precedents that will help other people overturn city ordinances against chickens, clotheslines, etc.

sustainamom said...

This is all so ridiculous, but I actually hope it goes far enough to set precedents that will help other people overturn city ordinances against chickens, clotheslines, etc.

Toni-Shaklee Distributor said...

I am a front yard raised bed gardener... and proud of it! I will do my part to support Julie!

Green Bean said...

Thank you everyone for all of your support for the Bass family and front yard vegetable gardens everywhere!

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