BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IT MAY BE ILLEGAL TO GROW YOUR OWN FOOD | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IT MAY BE ILLEGAL TO GROW YOUR OWN FOOD

The city and town names may change, but the stories are strikingly similar. Every year, new tales of urban gardeners who are cited for “illegally” growing food in their yards or on vacant lots bubble up.

One recent high profile case involves Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, a couple in Miami Shores Village, Florida, who was told the front yard vegetable garden they’d tended to for 17 years was prohibited according to a new zoning code that banned front yard vegetable gardens. They had to dig up their plants, which supplied half the food they ate, or face $50-per-day fines.

This happened in 2013, and they’ve been fighting for the right to replant their garden ever since. Last year, the Florida Supreme Court declined to hear the case. A bill inspired by their story, prohibiting local governments from regulating residential vegetable gardens, was introduced in the Florida senate this year, but it died in the house in March. The couple still has an active change.org petition going.

Vegetable garden restrictions aren’t the only food-producing activities homeowners have come up against. Those who want to keep backyard chickens, other livestock or bees can face hurdles. Things can get even stickier if you decide you want to sell some of the food you grow.

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