Who would think that using one’s garden for, well, gardening would be a subversive act? Apparently, in the suburbs, it now takes a legal battle to grow edible plants in one’s yard. Via Good:
Urban farmers as outlaws: It’s becoming a familiar tale. Whether it’s a $2,500 fine for growing chard in Oakland or bans on backyard chickens in Pensacola, the civic agrarian often bumps up against the cold hard edge of the law.
Karl Tricamo of Ferguson, Missouri, on the outskirts of St. Louis, ripped the sod up from the front of his brick tract home last year and started tilling his modest plot. He delighted in the tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers he raised just steps from his front door. Tricamo estimates that 80 percent of their vegetables now come from his former lawn.
Ferguson city officials, though, didn’t appreciate Tricamo’s industrious green thumb and cited him for violations of the “exterior appearance code.” Code enforcers routinely did creepy drive-bys or parked in front of his house observing the locavore scofflaw. Still, he farmed.
The harassment continued and Tricamo brought in the legal help of the libertarian Freedom Center of Missouri to go before the Board of Zoning Adjustment to fight. “People have been gardening since the beginning of human civilization, and the First Lady has even been setting an example by gardening at the White House! I never expected it to be so controversial,” Tricamo said.
Despite the protest of the Board’s chairman, Joe Schroeder, who called Tricamo’s plot an “eyesore,” the officials ruled to throw out the citation. As it turns out, there is no law on the books in Ferguson that bars residents from growing crops.