Missouri Family Wins Right To Grow Vegetables In Its Yard

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.

12 Comments on "Missouri Family Wins Right To Grow Vegetables In Its Yard"

  1. Welp… I’m willing to bet there WILL be a law soon in Ferguson that bars residents from growing crops.

    •  Yep Peetr – they are getting ready to do that very thing.   And they’ve already told Karl that his garden will NOT be “grandfathered” if they do that.

  2. tooCents | Aug 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm |

    The Ferguson pigs I mean government officials should be horsewhipped.

  3. Simiantongue | Aug 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm |

    Actually judging by the picture in the article that garden looks a damn sight better than a lawn. That’s a beautiful garden. By the look of it he’s got a lot of tree cover in the back so it makes sense to do it in front too.

    I have this neato gardening story of my own but I’ll hold off.

    • Jin The Ninja | Aug 11, 2012 at 11:47 am |

      i’ve never understood the ideas of ‘lawns.’
      it’s so very british-colonialist.
      and i’d like to hear this gardening story one day.

  4. Anarchy Pony | Aug 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm |

    Independence from the corporate food system is a crime. Or at least it probably will be soon.

  5. You can have my home grown tomatoes when you pry them from my cold, dead hands

  6. zombieslapper | Aug 10, 2012 at 4:39 am |

    I have no problems with bans on backyard chickens. Ever lived RIGHT next door to chickens? I have. Our neighbors, without proper permits, built a chicken coop RIGHT NEXT TO MY BEDROOM WINDOW. Chickens stink and squawk all day long. And the rooster starts crowing at around 4 am… and stops around never. The rest, however, is bullshit; anyone should be able to grow just about anything they want on their own property.

  7. All this in Monsanto’s back yard.  Way to go fella.

  8. Cory Tullier | Aug 10, 2012 at 10:42 am |

    The biggest problem with our culture or lack there of is when it comes to being independent and self sufficient the general populace would prefer all their critical thinking necessary to be as such  left up to various think tanks and government lobbyist.  Almost none of the various entities that exist to set policy whether it be a homeowners association,the federal wing of the environmental protection agency,or the corporate lobbyist especially, have a mind to have people garner any control of their own lives.Sadly, the consensus to frame thoughtful and common sense answers to all the problems these groups cause is lost on the vast majority who seem perfectly content with vitriolic politics as it is or just do not have for  myriad reasons I am most certain the reach and influence needed to bring about any progressive standards into a fight to save us all from Monsanto and others of their ilk.It is true after all The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. I am not A christian but those words do sum up simply part of the problem anyone faces who wishes to live a decent life free from social,government,or corporate control in general.I sympathize to a degree but  the theocracy many on the right aspire to bring about would only heighten further denigration.The “tyranny of evil men” is dependent on such selfish  derision.

  9. BrendanBabbage | Aug 12, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    These laws are likely snuck in by Corporate America…

    Simply put, they know that sooner or later they’ll have overwhelming hatred of them.  No matter what puppets they have in now they’ll lose every election by near 100%.

    Petty laws like this help ensure a “Hydraulic Dictatorship”.  That is they can say “if you pass this wage/labor/anti-monopoly law well… we are the ONLY people who distribute food into this city…”

  10. Garden Mad | Aug 13, 2012 at 7:49 am |

    I am astonished and dismayed to read about this attempt to ban people from growing their own veg at home.   I would have thought it would be in the US Constitution!   How did the settlers survive?   How lucky I feel to live in Britain, where we have a long and continuing assumption that IT IS A VERY GOOD THING TO DO.   There is currently a massive movement here to encourage people to “Grow Your Own” – even in the smallest space, like patio pots (eg salad stuff, dwarf-stock fruit trees) or hanging baskets (trailing cherry-tomatoes eg), or interspersing edibles with ornamentals (the front-yard-order-brigade might regard peas and beans, or rainbow chard, red cabbage, trailing squash vines, just as beautiful).  We also have local schemes for sharing space, so that someone with a garden(yard) who can’t do the work, allows someone in the opposite position to grow fruit and veg on the plot, and they share the produce.
     As well as providing the food, and knowing what’s gone into it (I am a passionately Organic gardener), there is the huge health benefit from the exercise – I seem to have heard something about an obesity issue in some parts of the world …. 

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