Tom Carrolls and Hermine Ricketts of Miami Shores, Florida have been growing vegetables in their front yard for about seventeen years. But, in 2013, the Miami Village Shore Council banned it – as the garden didn’t fit the “aesthetic character” of the city.
The attorney for Miami Shores, Richard Sarafan, said that there isn’t a fundamental right to grow veggies in a front yard. Sarafan also added that uniformity and aesthetics are legitimate government purposes.
In addition, here is the story of Hermine and Tom and their battle for the right to grow veggies in their front yard:
Tom and Hermine grew organic veggies in their front yard in South Florida. They harvested about seventy-five different types of veggies in the process. They stated that their garden provided them with food.
However, in 2013, an elected board of 5 local politicians, the Miami Shores Village Council, noted that the garden of this couple was inconstant with the “aesthetic character” of the city. The Council stated that front yards should be kept neat, with flowers, trees, fruits, grass, or garden decorations, whereas vegetable gardens should be kept in the backyard. Furthermore, the Council gave Tom and Hermine an ultimatum to pay a fine of fifty dollars on a daily basis or get rid of their garden.
They got rid of their garden as well as sought legal help in order to regain their right to grow veggies in their front yard. Additionally, in 2013, they joined forces with a non-profit law firm in Virginia (the Institute for Justice) that soon filed the case at court.
According to their lawyer, Ari Bargil, in case they wanted to display pink flamingos or grow flowers or fruit, Miami Shores would have been fine with it. Also, the couple should be free to grow veggies for their own consumption.
Unluckily, in 2016, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida ruled against the couple, explaining that “the Village of Miami Shores’ ban on front-yard vegetable gardens doesn’t affect any suspect class or fundamental right.”
However, Tom and Hermine are not giving up. The above mentioned non-profit law firm in Virginia actually filed an appeal following the ruling. Moreover, the case is currently being processed by the Florida’s District Court of Appeals.
Here is what can be done:
In fact, the prohibition of front-yard vegetable gardening is a great issue in the U.S. Unfortunately, a large number of people, particularly those whose livelihoods may be affected without front-yard vegetable gardens, have actually faced the same prohibition. Specifically, in 2011, a Michigan resident, Julie Bass, almost had to serve ninety-three days in jail for front-yard vegetable gardening.
The good news is that those growing vegetables in their front yard have the support of property owners and at-home gardeners worldwide.
Here is how to fight the prohibition of front-yard vegetable gardens:
– You may want to donate to non-profit law firms and groups, which take on cases for front-yard vegetable gardeners. For instance, you can donate to the Freedom Center of Missouri and the Institute for Justice.
– Raise awareness for the issue of the prohibition of front-yard vegetable gardening. You should inform people around you about the legal difficulties they could face when growing veggies in their front yard as well as encourage other people to take action.
– You may also want to support online campaigns to oppose the prohibition. In short, keep your eyes open for social media petitions or campaigns against this issue.
– You should also put pressure on your local politicians. This means that you need to find out if your state/city has a policy against front-yard gardening. If so, you should voice your concerns to your local policymakers. Also, demand that lawmakers specify and review the ban’s terms. Namely, could it make exceptions for those that don’t have backyards? Could you grow veggies in your front yard in case they are technically flowers, such as courgette flowers?