Woman prosecuted for garden

Some people use skelemingos for Halloween, others all year round.

A woman in Oak Park, Michigan could spend 93 days in jail for growing vegetables in her garden. When Julie Bass replaced the grass and trees in her front yard with cabbage, carrots, tomatoes etc., her neighbor called the city and complained. The neighbor felt that Bass’s yard disrupted the look of the neighborhood. Bass was issued a ticket, which she refused to pay. Now, the case is in the beginning stages of litigation.

Of course it is ridiculous to prosecute someone for gardening. This story has been picked up everywhere, but I couldn’t help blog about it because a similar thing is happening in my neighborhood. A lovely family has decided to plant some vegetables in their front yard. The vegetables are discretely placed behind some flowers. The vegetable beds are beautifully landscapped and maintained. But yet, it has caused quite a bit of commotion because a handful of residents feel that vegetables belong only in the backyard.

Beyond silly. Planting vegetables and having less lawn to maintain is good for people and the environment. As a form of protest, I will be growing some tomatos in my front yard next year (it is too late to plant anything in this hemisphere). But until then, I’m thinking about adding a bunch of skelemingos, maybe a couple of garden dwellers, and a tombstone while I’m at it. If you know of any other good lawn ornaments, let me know.

~ by siouxsielaw on July 15, 2011.

10 Responses to “Woman prosecuted for garden”

  1. The city dropped charges today, but are now reinstating a months’ old administrative charge for improper dog registration. She faces 93 days in jail & thousands of dollars in fines for a clearly political vendetta.

  2. Julie Bass has a blog of her own explaining that yhe charges were null-pros, and without prejudice…add to that the dog license hearing & I doubt we’ve heard the last of this.

    Thanks as always for the good work Siouxsie!


  3. This is just crazy! There’s nothing prettier in a yard — front or back — than plants bearing fruit. But as you already know from my blog, I’m biased. Neighborhoods are just too worried about the way things “look,” property values, etc. instead of important things like getting along and helping each other.

    Take a look at a story that’s been extremely hot here in Staten Island, NY: http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-05-05/local/29526350_1_condo-board-wheelchair-complex-today

    These people are fighting this mom and her disabled daughter about a wheelchair ramp! They want her to put it in the backyard!!! Seriously? This isn’t like painting your house with pink and purple stripes. This is to make the child’s life easier and more pleasant, and will be extremely necessary as the child gets older and bigger. sigh …. intolerant, arrogant, self-centered jerks.

    • The Staten Island story is awful. Intolerant, arrogant, self-centered . . . indeed. The is something particularly disturbing about people trying to keep the disabled invisible. Ack.

      I agree with you that there is nothing prettier in a yard than plants bearing front. And I can’t think of anything more boring to look at than a square piece of over-fertilized grass. Blah.

  4. What is the logic here, that a vegetable garden will decrease property values because, what? Nothing puts off a home-buyer more than the thought that maybe one horrible day their neighbor will come by looking to off-load some home grown tomatoes and zucchini, apparently. The mock fear of “decreasing property values” is such a lame excuse for enforcing cultural conformity, and one that was used heavily to maintain racial segregation of suburban communities during the Civil Rights era. Makes me cranky.

    Good luck with your tomatoes! Those skelemingos are fantastic and make me wish I had a yard.

    • Thanks! The skelemingos are pretty great.

      And well said about cultural conformity. That is probably what irks me so much about garden controversies. I mean, if you can’t respect or tolerate a different perspective as to what plants and flowers belong in a yard, it doesn’t give me a lot of hope for tolerance in other areas.

  5. The veggie woman can move in next door to me any day! My neighbors have a totally dead lawn, complete with a dead tree. That’s too Goth even for my tastes! 😉

    • “Too Goth even for my tastes!”

      Hahaha! That is precisely what baffles me. People are less outraged by yards that are not kept up than yards that have vegetables. It really seems to be the “different” factor that upsets people. ARGH.

      Today I received a bonus from my neighbor with the offending garden — a bag full of fresh string beans.

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