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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

93 Days in Jail for Planting a Vegetable Garden

Michigan Woman Faces 93 Days in Jail for Planting a Vegetable Garden

This is not some gated community with HOA regulations. This is an ordinary, working class neighborhood in Oakland County, Michigan.

It just doesn't get more ridiculous than this.
Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan -- a mother of 6, law-abiding citizen, and gardener -- is facing 93 days in jail after being charged with a misdemeanor.

Her crime? Planting a vegetable garden in the front yard.

Bass says that she planted the garden after her front yard was torn up for some sewer repairs. Rather than wasting the opportunity to start with a clean slate by planting a lawn, she decided to really put the area to use, and plant a vegetable garden.

Her garden consists of 5 raised beds, where she grows a mix of squashes, corn, tomatoes, flowers, and other veggies. Bass received a warning from the city telling her to remove the vegetable garden, because it doesn't adhere to city ordinances (more on that later.) When she refused, she was ticketed and charged with a misdemeanor. Her trial, before a jury, is set to begin on July 26th. If she is found guilty, she can be sentenced to up to 93 days in jail.

Read the article here, and read about what you can do to help!

~marisa


16 comments:

Karina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karina said...

So infuriating. I'm torn between checking into my own city's ordinances or just going forward with planting a garden in my front yard despite what the city says. It's ludicrous what's happening to her.

Maggie @ Chica es Artistica said...

Oh my goodness! That is right in my area. It's her lawn. She can do what she likes! I'm so thankful that I don't live in a neighborhood where there's rules and regulations. Hello chickens. Hello weedy garden. Hello lawn which is more brown than green.

MAYBELLINE said...

Personal opinion here:
Typically vegetable gardens in the front yard don't look good. I don't grow anything edible in my front yard because of that fact but mostly because it is open to anyone - beast or human. I really don't like anyone fiddling with my food.

Now I will try to find examples of front yard vegetable gardens to prove me wrong.

I do wish law enforcement would focus more on the more serious crimes and leave something like this to the neighbors.

K-Koira said...

Wow. Just proves how much society is going down the drain when people can be punished for gardening on their own property.

And makes me really glad I live somewhere where the only restrictions on what you can have on your front lawn include no cars parked on the lawn for more than 24 hours.

kelli said...

the city i live in threatened to put a lien on my house because we didn't want to cut the plantain in our yard, which i dehydrate for a tea that helps a condition i have. tyranny is here, sadly.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Yes, I've been seeing updates on this at Take Back Urbanhomesteading(s). It's just crazy that it's gotten to this point!

daisy said...

That's just incredible. Maybe she should donate the bounty from the front yard to a local shelter or soup kitchen. How could they argue with that?

Sandra J said...

I saw this - it is crazy. Here in California they are releasing criminals early due to overcrowding and this woman looking out for her family could get over 3 months in jail. Something is not right here.

JaNae said...

so so crazy! especially the city planners definition of "suitable" he needs someone to send him a dictionary. Ms Bass is brilliant for letting it go to trial.
here's a link for Maybelline: http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/veggies-up-front-00400000014661/

I had neighbors in California who had vegetable gardens in their front yard and made it look amazing. so much better than the ugly pretend grass that grows in southern ca.

Of course I would be so worried about neighbors just helping themselves.

FranksGreenGirl said...

Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of pulling up to my grandmothers house and seeing the towering sunflowers and the beans and peas that climbed them. I couldn't wait to run through what was like a bright cheery labrynth for little people. I remember it being full of birds, butterflies, and nummy snacks. Just yesterday In fact, I went on a home garden tour in my neighborhood to 4 homes of master gardeners. 2 of which incorporated vegetables seemlessly into their georgous designs in the front, back, and sides of their yards. It is a shame when we have to tell people if and what they can grown in their own space. (ie. certain trees, grass, and shrubs)

Kim and Victoria said...

Thanks for this post. I emailed the mayor. Sooooo stupid.

Tam said...

I think anyone who has been at odds with their city gov't is sympathetic. This does happen, in many places and in many ways.

A lot of governments only act on the behalf of neighborhood complainers. We've had that happen in crazy ways over the last several years. Being told we had to store our VW bus (licensed, running) because it looked like 'an abandoned vehicle.' The elderly lady behind us has been told they will take her cat away from her if she lets him out. She went door to door all day looking for him.

It's a sad world.

Mandie said...

That is horrible! I applaud her for doing so with pride. Bless her heart

A Mini Beginning said...

When I saw this on the news I just shook my head. It's things like this that really make me "proud" to live here in Michigan! Detroit has ALOT of other things to worry about than veggie gardens in the wrong part of someone's yard! They just make people like myself who live here in Michigan very upset, with the economy the way that it is.... They still choose to focus on such silly meaningless things when we have REAL problems at hand!

Casey said...

how stupid and a waste of money to persecute her for growing food for her family, regardless of where on her property it is...