Florida Will Generously Allow Homeowners to Garden in Their Own Yards

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If you live in Florida and want the freedom to plant food on your own property, I have great news for you.

Late last month, the Florida Senate affirmed the right of self-reliant people statewide to grow vegetable gardens in their front yards.

Here are some details on the bill from the Miami Herald:

The 40-member Senate vote was 35-5.

Sen. Rob Bradley’s SB 82 prohibits a county or municipality from regulating vegetable gardens on residential properties, voiding any current regulations regarding the produce patches.

Local governments, however, can still adopt a local ordinance or regulation that doesn’t specifically target vegetable gardens, like regulating water during drought conditions, limiting fertilizer use or controlling invasive species.

A couple was forced to rip out their garden.

While it might seem odd that people would need government permission to grow food on their own property, the bill was passed in response to a legal dispute about an ordinance in Miami Shores that banned gardens from being planted in front yards.

In 2017, Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, who had a vegetable garden in their front yard for 17 years, were told they could grow flowers in their front yard, but the fresh produce had to go, reports Treehugger:

Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, indignant at the fact that vegetables were deemed more offensive than boats, RVs, jet skis, statues, fountains, gnomes, pink flamingoes, or Santa in a Speedo in one’s front yard, took their case to the Florida Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of Miami Shores’ right to control design and landscaping standards. In other words, it was a loss for Ricketts and Carroll. (source)

“It’s all about conformity. Miami Shores wants to be a mini Coral Gables,” Ricketts said. “What is the definition of edible? I can go into any front yard and find something edible because every plant has an edible part.”

“That’s what government does – interferes in people’s lives,” Ricketts told the Miami Herald in December 2017. “We had that garden for 17 years. We ate fresh meals every day from that garden. Since the village stepped its big foot in it, they have ruined our garden and my health.”

The couple faced heavy fines for their front yard garden.

Ricketts and Carroll didn’t face jail time for daring to have a garden, but they did face $50 fines – DAILY – after the village amended its ordinance in 2013.

Back in 2017, the Miami Herald reported:

They had to dig up their garden, which won’t grow in their north-facing backyard because of a lack of sun. But they have continued to fight Miami Shores in court with help from the Institute for Justice, a national non-profit libertarian law firm.

“This decision gives local governments tremendous leeway to regulate harmless activities in the name of aesthetics,” said Institute lawyer Ari Bargil. “It gives government the power to prohibit homeowners from growing plants in their front yards simply because they intend to eat them.” (source)

An appeals court upheld a ruling that the couple does not have a constitutional right to grow vegetables in their front yard in November 2017.

In March of this year, the couple had a big win.

The front-yard garden ban got the attention of enough senators, and a new bill passed in mid-March that states that Floridians are now able to grow fruit and vegetables in their front yards without fear of local government fines.

The Miami Herald reports that Republican Senator Rob Bradley sponsored the bill and described it as a “vast overreach.” Given how many food deserts exist and how hard it can be for many families to access fresh and affordable food, such bans are an absurd step in the wrong direction. Bradley said,

“The world is changing when it comes to food. There’s a big interest when it comes to locally sourced food or organic products. It is our role, our duty to review decisions that are made in the courts that uphold local government actions that violate property rights in the State of Florida … When you own a piece of property, you should be able to grow food on that property for your family’s consumption.” (source)

Bargill, the lawyer who represented Ricketts and Carroll, said he is pleased with the new legislation, and added that he “looks forward to the day where no Floridian would worry about crippling fines for the offense of growing cabbage.”

This bill is a great start and may inspire others to follow suit.

The bill only preempts local government rules, not restrictions set by homeowners’ associations or other groups, but it is a move in the right direction, explains Treehugger:

But it’s a great start, and one that will hopefully inspire others to rip up their useless grass and plant some useful vegetables instead. The more front-yard vegetable gardens there are, the more normalized it will become – and the more secure the food system will be, too. (source)

What do you think?

Should governments regulate what kind of gardens people grow in their yards? What do you think about front-yard gardens?

About the Author

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

H/T to Barbara

Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

Leave a Reply

  • I think we have allowed the government to lose their collective minds. They are fiddling while Rome burns.

  • I cannot wrap my head around the fact that we are allowing governments to interfere in our lives to this extent. It’s been a slow and insidious process and that’s why people haven’t paid much attention (plus they’re too busy watching the super bowl or engage in pointless arguments about politics). There’s also a bit of an attitude of ‘well, if they don’t like it they should go live someplace else’ and I admit to being somewhat guilty of that. I wouldn’t live in California, Florida or New York if they were the last places on earth, but not everyone has a choice. I firmly believe that if we don’t take drastic action out entire lives will soon be dictated by the government, from California to North Dakota. It’s the apathy about these things that’s killing us!

  • I have vegetable-gardened and used a clothesline since the mid 1970s and in that near 50 year timespan i have seen clotheslines prohibited then encouraged to conserve electricity and vegetable gardens changed from an ethnic nuisance to WASP mainstream. We can even have chickens in the city now. Its just like the Depression of the 1930s !!

    • Its just like condominium boards & apartment bldg owners refusing to allow charging of electric bicycles and ecars. They need to get with the times. People need storage space for their snowtires and if block heaters were allowed in the 1960s why cant tenants and residents have plugins for e-vehicles?? And if the parking spaces were built for 16 foot long cars in 1970, we can get a modern car and a motorcycle or ebike into that same space in 2019 so why shud we have to rent a second space to keep our second vehicle? Power to the people, not the corporations finding ways to circumvent the restrictions on rent increases to be less than 3 times the rate of inflation

  • A lot of the same people who claim to be for the little guy are strongly opposed to self reliance. Planting gardens and going off grid are against control and power.

  • I have raised a garden in my front yard for several years and have had multiple conflicts with the city counsel because of it. It is ridiculous that some people can have their yard piled up with junk cars and general trash but my garden is to messy for the neighborhood. I even share the veggies with my neighbors.

  • Quote from article, “rip up their useless grass”.

    Great.

    Lawns require vast amounts of labor, fertilizer, pesticide (ie. Roundup) and water when compared to say, a drip-irrigated food garden. Floridians rely on groundwater from the aquifers and with more people coming to Florida it’s a matter of time before the local governments impose strict regulations on water usage.

    Companion planting doesn’t require planting in rows which would lessen some objections “esthetically”. One example is ‘Three Sister’ planting of beans, squash and corn.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Sisters_(agriculture)

    Combine food, flower and herb gardens as they will mutually benefit each other.

    Raised bed gardens in various privacy high tiers can be arranged around a shaded patio area. Some benefits would be neighbors talking to each other while outside, watching their streets for strangers or having a defensible barrier in the early stages of SHTF, just saying.

    Note: In Florida, arrange the garden so it doesn’t block breezes from cooling the house. Rather it can help collect and divert wind towards the house. Think of the ol’ Cracker Dog Trot breezeway.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogtrot_house

    So, why stop at useless grass. Get rid of golf courses, one of the greatest wasters of water resources, and contributors to fertilizer pollution.

    And ps., contact your local USDA stations for a wealth of information on what has been proved to grow in your area. Florida has three plant hardiness zones. Four if the semi-tropical zone is included. Plus, an amazing amount of plant species for one state and almost around the year growing seasons. Be careful of introducing invasive plants.

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