11 July 2011

City of Oak Park apparently hates vegetable gardens

An Oak Park, Michigan homeowner, Julie Bass, is facing some serious charges for nothing more than setting up a garden in her front yard. You heard me right. A garden!

Bass set up the garden after her yard was torn up to replace a sewer line, and decided to grow her own. While the vast majority would commend her for producing her own veggies, the City of Oak Park doesn’t agree.

She set up her aesthetically pleasing five-planter vegetable garden to save money and eat organically. We all know that organic veggies are expensive, and homesteading and growing your own food is invaluable, not only for saving money and eating amazing vegetables that you can be proud of, but gardening entails learning. Neighborhood kids come over to Bass’s house to learn, eat healthfully and grow, themselves.

Bass was slapped with a warning, then a ticket, and now she is being charged with a misdemeanor. The Oak Park city prosecutor is pursuing a full, ridiculous—and expensive time-wasting trial against her, which could land her in jail.

Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski states “That’s not what we want to see in a front yard.” What would you like to see? Overgrown weeds, couches, and cars that don’t work? Seems to be a lot of that in a city that is already strapped for cash. According to the city code, a front yard has to have “suitable, live plant material.” I think a beautiful thriving vegetable garden fits this description quite well, but some people with power do not agree.

As Bass stated “Sometimes it takes a while, but Right triumphs Might. At least in a just society…” Go sign the petition and help her take a stand for what’s right. You can also visit the facebook site “Oak Park Hates Veggies." Her pretrial is scheduled for July 26th.

Kelly Beth | @veganbotanicals
Kelly Beth is a smiley vegan herbalist and wanderer, and currently resides in Boulder, Colorado with her fiancé and kitty (kitty face). She created twig & leaf botanicals, a vegan & organic herbal apothecary 3 years ago to bring healthy, plant-based alternatives to mainstream medicine and home care. Follow Kelly Beth on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/downingstreet