Florida Bans Bans on Front-Yard Gardens
Russ Chastain 06.04.19
It’s no secret that food is a huge part of prepping and survivalism, and being able to grow your own food is crucial when traditional supply chains are disrupted and local food stores run low. For this and many other reasons (GMO, pesticides, lack of a decent tomato at any commercial produce outlet), lots of people grow their own food in gardens. And for folks in Florida who wish to establish those gardens in their front yards, I hear there’s good news.
“CS/SB 82: Vegetable Gardens” passed in March and will become effective on July 1, 2019 if signed by the governor. It essentially flexes state muscle by negating local laws which regulate vegetable gardens.
CS/SB 82 prohibits a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state from regulating vegetable gardens on residential properties. Any local ordinance or regulation regarding vegetable gardens on residential properties is void and unenforceable. The bill provides an exception for local ordinances or regulations of a general nature that do not specifically regulate vegetable gardens, including, but not limited to, regulations and ordinances relating to water use during drought conditions, fertilizer use, or control of invasive species.
The bill defines the term ‘vegetable garden’ as a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated for human consumption.
It all began when Miami Shores decided that a front-yard vegetable garden which had been there for 17 years was illegal, and informed the married couple of Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll that it must go. The gardeners took it to the Florida Supreme Court — and lost. In 2017 the couple were forced to rip out their productive garden.
‘That’s what government does–– interferes in people’s lives,’ Ricketts said. ‘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.’
‘Miami Shores claims to promote green living,’ continued Ricketts. ‘What could be more green than walking out your front door and picking what you’ve grown rather than driving to the store and buying what has been trucked in, in quantities that contribute to food waste?’
I recall with pleasure the episode of King of the Hill in which Dale Gribble says, “I wish the government would just ban itself!” I mention it because the result here is more or less the same thing. Government creating a law to prevent government from making a certain type of law.
It’s a small victory among a sea of defeats, but I’ll take it.