“The price of organic food is kind of through the roof,” says Julie Bass, who decided instead to grow her own after the city ripped out her grass to replace a sewer line. But the Oak Park officials think Bass’s new garden is unseemly, and have twice ordered her to remove it before slapping her with a misdemeanor.
According to Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski to city’s code states that “a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material.” Says Bass, “[i]t’s definitely live. It’s definitely plant. It’s definitely material. We think it’s suitable.” But to Rulkowski “suitable” means “common.” “So,” he told FOX 2 News, “if you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers.”
But in Bass’s commmunity, a far more common front-yard sight is neighbors admiring her garden. “I have a bunch of little children and we take walks to come by and see everything growing,” says neighbor Devorah Gold. “I think it’s a very wonderful thing for our neighborhood.” “They don’t have (anything) else to do (if) they’re going to take her to court for a garden,” adds neighbor Ora Goodwin. In fact, every single neighbor approached by FOX 2 thought Bass should be allowed to keep her garden.
For her part, Bass says she intends to fight the city’s charge. “I could sell out and save my own self and just not have them bother me anymore,” she says, “but then there’s no telling what they’re going to harass the next person about.”
Her next pre-trial hearing has been set for July 26.
Next time some asshole starts hemming and hawing about how people have no excuse to not eat “right” because you can grow your own fruit and veg…
Looks like you can’t.
that doesn’t seem like the lesson to take out of this at all. why isn’t anyone actually protesting this ‘law’ and sending out petitions? it’s unreasonable to say that people can’t grow fruits and vegetables in their own front yard. just because some fuckass doesn’t like how vegetables look instead of a well-manicured lawn doesn’t mean this woman shouldn’t be allowed to grow safe food for herself.
also, this situation doesn’t seem very typical. i don’t know anything about this town, but there are permaculture enthusiasts all over the world growing fruit and vegetables in their front yards [and their back and side ones, too]. i don’t think the lesson here is that we should fight with people who say we can grow our own fruits and vegetables and get on their shit about body policing, i think the lesson should be that we need to become more involved in our communities and make sure people have the right to do with their lawns as we please. you can’t grow everything everywhere, but you can grow something somewhere. we spent a couple of dollars on seeds at the beginning of the summer, and not everything’s been perfect, but we have an herb forest and tons of greens to eat whenever we want. we’re also growing corn and squash and beans and eggplant and tomatoes. growing your own food is crazy cheap, and you know where it’s coming from and that there are no chemicals on it. i think if people have the means to do so, there’s no reason not to at least try it.
whenever i post about this topic, i’m immediately met with a lot of angry messages telling me why people can’t grow their own food. they give me scenarios and ask me to solve them, essentially. i’m not saying you’re an asshole if you’re not growing your own food. i’m saying it’s possible, and many people who do not own a home or a lawn or garden still manage to grow their own food, and it’s pretty defeatist to just throw your arms up and say it’s not possible. it sort of bothers me that a topic that is so positive and exciting is met with such disdain. food staying the way it is in our society is something even the most liberal people on tumblr seem to be just fine with. it seems antithetical to what we’re doing here, and it’s just like overhauling healthcare or public assistance. it can’t happen overnight, and yet people are willing to fight for some things and not others. we should know what’s in our food, we shouldn’t have to shop at special stores to avoid high fructose corn syrup. we shouldn’t have to beg our cities to let us grown food. it’s an uphill battle, but one that needs to be fought. we deserve to have healthy things available to us without having to make a lot of money. we deserve to have no food deserts, and we deserve to have the same healthy produce and nuts and grains available to everyone everywhere. this is not negotiable. also, lawns are a waste of time, resources, and they provide nothing for us. it’s time to take back the modern lawn.
if people are interested in seeing more permaculture articles, let me know. i know a big argument against growing our own food is that nobody has the space, but i’ve read so many things on how to plant in small spaces, and i’ve seen it done, so yeah, let me know if that’s something else you’d enjoy seeing.