Plant a Garden…Go to Jail???

July 12, 2011

In an era where consumers are being urged to eat local, forego fast foods, and be independent, it’s disheartening to the read of the case of Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan.

Her front yard was torn up for sewer repairs, and instead of reinstalling a lawn, she planted five raised beds with tomatoes, flowers, squash and other vegetables.  The result:  she has been charged with a misdemeanor violation of a city ordinance that says only “suitable” plant material is permitted in front of a house.  The ordinance doesn’t spell out what “suitable” is.   A jury trial is set for the end of July and, if guilty, she can be sentenced up to 93 days in jail.

The Offending Garden in Oak Park, Michigan

Oak Park is a working class neighborhood in Oakland County, Michigan which like many of its counterparts is facing severe financial issues.  That the local government would expend resources to prosecute someone for growing their own food is the sort of gas the tea party would like to throw on a fire.  Local media has already covered the story. From the picture above, it doesn’t look like much of a eyesore to us.

Social media may come to the rescue however.  There’s a Facebook page that can be liked, and Oak Park officials have had their contact information published on a blog maintained by Ms. Bass.Stay tuned and we will see where this goes.