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Jail time over a garden?

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  Lindacol on 7/14/2011, 10:37 pm

Here is the latest:

http://eater.com/archives/2011/07/14/oh-city-code-enforcers-of.php

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  Lindacol on 7/14/2011, 10:43 pm

I also found this about another one threated with jail time:

http://www.grist.org/list/2011-07-14-jail-time-for-gardening-now-officially-a-trend

This is just insane.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  NHGardener on 7/14/2011, 10:57 pm

Too funny that they're going after her for her 2 unlicensed dogs now...

This is why I tend to try to stay out of their way...

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  staf74 on 7/14/2011, 11:57 pm

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism"

Kudos to that woman for standing her ground from local zealots I say. Just like the school bully who always backs down in the end. Topsy-turvy world we seem to live in at times.

Growing food a crime???....local ordinance or not....hogwash !!!

Plant your victory garden .... a thing of beauty.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  CindiLou on 7/15/2011, 12:53 am

Well I have to say that she should license the dogs. I look it as a way for the city to make dog owners responsible for their animals. If licensed then we know the animal has at least had its rabies shots up to date. Well, in my town at least, that is the requirement. Plus if your animal is lost and found they know who it belongs to. This way you would get the animal back and they would know who to give the ticket to lol...


About the front yard garden, I never did read if she could have put on in back. I realize why she had to do something with the front but grass seed is cheap. But in my town I know every vegetable I had would be gone if it was in the front yard. And I only live a half block from the police station!

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  shannon1 on 7/15/2011, 2:41 am

@staf74 wrote:"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism"

Kudos to that woman for standing her ground from local zealots I say. Just like the school bully who always backs down in the end. Topsy-turvy world we seem to live in at times.

Growing food a crime???....local ordinance or not....hogwash !!!

Plant your victory garden .... a thing of beauty.
I agree whole heartedly!!!! She was a brave woman fighting for what she (and many of us ) feel is right. My SFG is in the front as well, that's where the sun is. Would I have been next? My garden is not nearly as beautiful as hers or many of yours, but my neighbors have only said nice things about it.

I think a lawn of grass is a disgraceful waste of water, most places. There are other ground covers if a person wants green. I know I am not totaly alone on this when I say, if you truley want to help the envrioment than explore grass substitutes. Quit the grass and grow a garden. More power to you sister. Put those gardens out front. I have made more converts to SFG by letting my garden do the talking than I ever could have alone.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  camprn on 7/15/2011, 6:54 am

The charges about the garden have been dropped by the city of Oak Park. What a Face

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British Columbia Man Faces Six Months in Jail for Growing Food

Post  Lindacol on 7/15/2011, 11:05 am


Image: Dirk Becker
Last week Colleen brought us the story of a woman in Michigan who is facing jail time for planting a garden. Sadly, this type of heavy-handed by-the-letter enforcement of bylaws exists at the same time as people embrace urban agriculture as a viable source of high quality nutrition. A man in Lanztville, British Columbia is facing a similar battle with the local government after converting his 2.5 acre "residential" lot from a gravel pit into a thriving organic farm. His refusal to "cease all agricultural activity" could land him six months in jail.
Acting on a single complaint from a disgruntled neighbor the regional district sent a letter to Dirk Becker giving him 14 days to "remove the piles of soil and manure from the property." The quoted bylaw states that property owners will ensure their property doesn't become or remain "unsightly". Specifically this refers to "the accumulation of filth, discarded materials or rubbish, which includes unused or stripped automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, vessels, machinery, mechanical or metal parts." Admittedly, it can be argued that, to some a manure pile could be considered "filth". But, considering how Becker regenerated his 2.5 acres (see photo above) this characterization is an insult.
Becker explains the character of his neighbourhood and the evolution of his piece of property in an article he wrote for Synergy Magazine.
We have 2.5 acres in total, as do several of our neighbours. Three doors down our road are both cows and horses. As you can see from our photographs, the area we live in can hardly be considered "urban". However, we are using the term to describe our situation as our property is zoned "residential" and we are doing small scale, organic growing of fruits and vegetables on one acre. Lantzville is a small community (population 3,500) just north of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Even the name, Lantzville, evokes images of small town comraderie, walking down main street, basket in hand, to see the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. It's surprising that on such a quiet, rural, two-block long, dead-end road, with forest across the street and acreages on either side of us, that we would end up being ordered to stop such an essential activity as growing food for others because of a particular bylaw.

he previous owner used an excavator and dump truck to mine and scrape the land bare. He had a soil screener set up on the property, selling the soil, then sand, then gravel, which resulted in lowering the level of the property by about four feet. When Dirk assumed ownership, all that remained was gravel. There were no worms, no grasshoppers, no birds, no butterflies; essentially - no living creatures!
Since 1999, Dirk has made a tremendous effort to heal the land, beginning slowly - one wheelbarrow at a time. Nicole joined him at the end of 2006. It has been a gradual, organic process from planting a few fruit trees and having a small growing area, to expanding with more hand-made soil using wood chips from local tree companies and a small amount of horse manure from local, Lantzville stables. Now we have four kinds of bees, several types of dragonflies, numerous types of butterflies, frogs, toads, snakes, hundreds of birds and much more! We have dedicated our time to supporting hundreds of community members who have sought guidance on how to become more sustainable in their own lives; from educating people on how to support sustainable local initiatives (including 4H and homeschoolers), to teaching families how to grow their own food.
The original letter asking Becker to stop agricultural activities arrived in September, 2010. Since then, there has been a huge public outcry in support of his activities, including a decent showing of 75 people at a support rally last night. Despite this, the municipality has recently hired a law firm to pursue the matter. Becker received a couriered letter in early June, once again asking him to stop growing food or they will proceed with legal action against him. What this could amount to, according to Becker, is a judge ruling that he is "in contempt" of the district bylaw and he could be sentenced to six months in jail.

To follow this story you can connect with Becker on Facebook where he posts regular updates.




@Lindacol wrote:I also found this about another one threated with jail time:

http://www.grist.org/list/2011-07-14-jail-time-for-gardening-now-officially-a-trend

This is just insane.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  NHGardener on 7/15/2011, 11:14 am

Almost unbelievable. I hope the owner has hired (good) legal counsel of his own.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  Goosegirl on 7/15/2011, 2:07 pm

@camprn wrote:The charges about the garden have been dropped by the city of Oak Park. What a Face

Now it's up to the Canadians! 8000 compost bins distributed so that the locals can recycle their scraps, but if they can't have dirt in their yards, what are they going to do with all that compost? Also, even if they legally can't grow food in a residential zone, a flower bed will still look like dirt until the seeds sprout or the transplants fill in!:scratch:

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  Unmutual on 7/15/2011, 4:25 pm

I can see why laws in some neighborhoods are like this one(read: rich, fancy neighborhoods), but as long as it isn't completely unsightly, I don't personally see a problem with growing veggies in the front yard. In fact, over the next 5 years, I plan on doing the same to my front lawn.

Of course, bribing your neighbors with fresh veggies is a good start, hence the backyard being done first!

However, if she knew the rules going in(ie: with HOAs), then she should try to change the laws instead of breaking the laws. BUT, sometimes the best way to call attention to silly laws is by breaking them. Legal doesn't necessarily mean right.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  camprn on 7/15/2011, 4:32 pm

Yeah basically the city Inspection man wrote her a ticket for violating an ordinance that doesn't exist, at least the way he thought it did; there was no HOA involved. I think what's on the books was probably drafted to get folks to pay attention to their yard, tend it and not let it look blighted or trashed... but I'm just guessing. It does sound like there is going to be some tweeking of the ordinance for sure. Very Happy

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  No_Such_Reality on 7/15/2011, 6:10 pm

@Lindacol wrote:
Image: Dirk Becker
The original letter asking Becker to stop agricultural activities arrived in September, 2010. Since then, there has been a huge public outcry in support of his activities, including a decent showing of 75 people at a support rally last night. Despite this, the municipality has recently hired a law firm to pursue the matter. Becker received a couriered letter in early June, once again asking him to stop growing food or they will proceed with legal action against him. What this could amount to, according to Becker, is a judge ruling that he is "in contempt" of the district bylaw and he could be sentenced to six months in jail.

To follow this story you can connect with Becker on Facebook where he posts regular updates.



They do admit to running a farm.

The regional by-laws say no agricultural farms on residential lots.

He also says, not much to look at October to February. That's not sounding very gardenish, it's sounding very farmish.

Lots of red-herrings in his writings.

Then again, I might be biased. Before moving, I didn't mind the guy down on the corner having a chicken coop (sub-division of ranch homes on 50'x100' lots).


When they added the rooster... it got annoying and I quickly minded...

SPIN sounds cool. I wonder if my neighbors would mind me doing small plot intensive farming and turning my front yard into a organic garlic farm. How much manure do I need to fertilize before I plant each crop rotation? Think the neighbors will mind the manure cooking for a few months before I plant?

It's not a fuzzy line between a garden and a farm. Unfortunately, it is a fuzzy line between being a good neighbor and not.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  NHGardener on 7/15/2011, 6:43 pm

Well, as far as good neighbors go, I'd have to say I'd a whole lot rather look out the window everyday at the growing things in the picture on the right than the scraped, useless, grassless wasteland it used to be on the left. That would depress me to tears if I had to look at that everyday.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  shannon1 on 7/15/2011, 11:49 pm


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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  janezee on 12/31/2011, 4:31 pm

That crazy town is at it again. See post for December 29th.

http://oakparkhatesveggies.wordpress.com/

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  sfg4uKim on 12/31/2011, 4:43 pm

@janezee wrote:That crazy town is at it again. See post for December 29th.

http://oakparkhatesveggies.wordpress.com/

Rolling my eyeballs and glad I don't live there.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  plantoid on 12/31/2011, 5:04 pm

@janezee wrote:That crazy town is at it again. See post for December 29th.

http://oakparkhatesveggies.wordpress.com/

Janeese , I've just read all the thread from start to finish .

I think you'll find that is the original posters link as well.
When you hit some sites for a link the current date also pops up on the top of the page no matter how long ago the article was written .

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  Denese on 12/31/2011, 5:11 pm

No, it really is a different story. The first was about a garden in the front yard, this one is about bushes being too tall. Same prosecutor... Mad

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  Chopper on 12/31/2011, 6:15 pm

If he had it in nice neat boxes I would bet there would be no complaints. Wink However, I think it should be illegal to limit people from growing their own food. It does seem, ummm, stupid.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  llama momma on 12/31/2011, 6:51 pm

Some people are annoying complainers. How cruel. The garden is permanently quiet. Unlike some kids, dogs, loud parties, loud cars, etc. I'd love to see the complaining neighbor get cited for being a nuisance, for interfering with pursuit of happiness. It's just a little food producing box that will never hurt anyone.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  B maier on 12/31/2011, 9:19 pm

Boy... this makes living in the middle of the city look good. I might not have much land but what I do have I can pretty much do what I want with it.

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Thank you for your service

Post  EatYourVeggies on 1/11/2012, 5:07 am

I was deployed to Afghanistan in July of 2003 (Army/OEF), while owning a home in Tucson Arizona and in a Natzi run Home Owner's Association. One of the first e-mails I received was from my wife (now ex), telling me she had received a notice to remove the weeds from our yard as they were visible from the street, and despite having a four foot tall block fence. :scratch:
The notice went on to say that if she did not comply, they would call a landscaper to remove them and send us the bill, to include legal fees. As it turned out, the weeds in question were the sunflowers my twelve year old son and I had planted for bird food, but rather than fight it, she took them down. Sad

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 1/11/2012, 10:46 am

Thank YOU for your service EYV! Craziness over how prescriptive some of the HOAs can be. Like B Maier, I'm more centrally located and my house turns 100 years old this year. While we might get cited for large waste items outside (furniture, mattresses), or bad guttering or something like that, they don't really get too excited about plants...(at least no one said anything last year about my strung tomatoes in a 2x4 in the front yard)... Smile

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Anti-gardening ordinances

Post  tomperrin on 1/11/2012, 11:41 am

We lived in a closed development governed by homeowners association for 20 years. From start to finish it was a painful experience. Although the community itself was good, the association was difficult, arbitrary and capricious. We were cited for a back fence that was 1/8 inch out of level among other nonsensical violations.

Our solution was to move to a small farming community where common sense prevails. Part of our due diligence before moving here was to visit the local planning board clerk who directed me to an online site where I could peruse the township's entire ordinance collection at my leisure.

Our search turned up no onerous regulations, and further conversations with the clerk indicated that the township's administration was more interesting in preventing the town from being paved over by developers than it was in harrassing residents. So we moved and immediately felt the burden of over-regulation lifted from our shoulders.

We learned the hard way never to sign over our rights for a perceived benefit.

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Re: Jail time over a garden?

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