The Michigan Madness: woman faces jail for planting veggies!..

In the face of economic downturn, ecological crisis and an uncertain future, people are beginning to take more responsibility for their own lives. So all around the world gardens like this are becoming more and more common…

Photo Credit: Julie Bass

But this particular garden could get it’s owner, Julie Bass, 93 days in jail!

After having her front yard torn up due to sewage works she decided to turn crisis into opportunity and create a beautiful vegetable garden. The finished result, we sure you’ll agree, is rather lovely, with a mix of squashes, tomatoes, corn and other goodies. But thanks to an obscure Michigan bylaw she found herself charged with a misdemeanor and now faces trial by jury on July 26th.

The law itself simply states that only “suitable” plant material is allowed on the lawn area of residences – which is obviously wide-open to interpretation. For anyone who realises the problems the world faces at the moment a veg garden is not only ‘suitable’, it’s damn near vital. But for a myopic legal-eagle who was born nearer to the 19th Century than the 21st it looks like ‘suitable’ can only mean that ever-present mundane mono-culture of Western Civilization – the lawn.

Treehugger reports that…

[t]his is not some gated community with HOA regulations. This is an ordinary, working class neighborhood in Oakland County, Michigan. Like nearly every other city in my home state right now, Oak Park is facing financial issues. Here at home, people are amazed that a cash-strapped city has the resources to investigate, charge, and prosecute a resident for something as innocuous as planting a vegetable garden.

They also have some advice for concerned citizens…

How to Help

If you want to help support a gardener’s right to grow food for her family (even if it is — gasp — in the front yard!) there are several things you can do:

1. Email or call officials for the city of Oak Park. Mrs. Bass has listed contact information for the mayor, city manager, and other city officials in the sidebar of her blog.
2. “Like” the Oak Park Hates Veggies Facebook Page.
3. Spread the word via Facebook and Twitter. By gaining attention to this particular issue, with this particular homeowner, the hope is that other cities will reconsider before they harass another homeowner for something like this.

What do you think? Should a front yard vegetable garden be a crime?

Check out for more info…

Published by The PermaFuture Project

We combine Permaculture and survivalist ethics and strategies to plan for a sustainable and self-sufficient future - both for individuals and communities.

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