Outrage: Woman Faces 93-Days in Jail For Planting Vegetable Garden In Her Front Yard!

more love from the city of oak park (oakparkhatesveggies, July 6, 2011):

our attorney spoke to the prosecutor today. (for the record, my crush on him is totally finished after today.)his position: they are going to take this all the way.

officially, this means i am facing 93 days in jail if they win.

no joke.

so, this is the time to ramp things up. this is the time to blog and facebook and twitter and send emails and do whatever other technology or grass roots stuff is out there, cuz the compost is hitting the fan.

93 days in jail over a vegetable garden. for a regular mom with several great children who has never been in trouble,who abides by the laws, who has no record, who has committed no crime, and who doesn’t cause trouble. and I didn’t do anything wrong.

i wanted to just put that in writing to see if it made any more sense.

it doesn’t.

be outraged, please. be very outraged.

Oak Park Woman Faces 93-Days in Jail For Planting Vegetable Garden (FOX News):

OAK PARK, Mich. (WJBK) – “The price of organic food is kind of through the roof,” said Julie Bass.

So, why not grow your own? However, Bass’ garden is a little unique because it’s in her front yard.

“We thought it’d be really cool to do it so the neighbors could see. The kids love it. The kids from the neighborhood all come and help,” she said.

Bass’ cool garden has landed her in hot water with the City of Oak Park. Code enforcement gave her a warning, then a ticket and now she’s been charged with a misdemeanor.

“I think it’s sad that the City of Oak Park that’s already strapped for cash is paying a lot of money to have a prosecutor bothering us,” Bass told FOX 2’s Alexis Wiley.

“That’s not what we want to see in a front yard,” said Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski.

Why? The city is pointing to a code that says a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material. The big question is what’s “suitable?”

We asked Bass whether she thinks she has suitable, live, plant material in her front yard.

“It’s definitely live. It’s definitely plant. It’s definitely material. We think it’s suitable,” she said.

So, we asked Rulkowski why it’s not suitable.

“If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers,” he said.

But when you look at front yards that are unsightly and overgrown, is Bass’ vegetable garden really worth the city’s time and money?

We asked Rulkowski what he would say to those who feel this is ridiculous.

“I would argue that you won’t find that opinion from most people in Oak Park,” he responded.

“I have a bunch of little children and we take walks to come by and see everything growing. I think it’s a very wonderful thing for our neighborhood,” said neighbor Devorah Gold.

“They don’t have (anything) else to do (if) they’re going to take her to court for a garden,” said neighbor Ora Goodwin.

We did find one neighbor who wasn’t a fan and thinks it needs to go.

“I know there’s a backyard. Do it in the backyard,” he said.

“They say, ‘Why should you grow things in the front?’ Well, why shouldn’t I? They’re fine. They’re pretty. They’re well maintained,” said Bass.

It looks like this critical debate is headed for a jury trial and neither side is backing down.

“I could sell out and save my own self and just not have them bother me anymore, but then there’s no telling what they’re going to harass the next person about,” Bass told us.

There’s another pretrial scheduled for July 26. The next step could be a jury trial.

7 thoughts on “Outrage: Woman Faces 93-Days in Jail For Planting Vegetable Garden In Her Front Yard!”

  1. Growing your own vegetables deprives a corporation of your dollars. Growing your own vegetables is a communist plot.

    This is not an action by Oak Park. This is an action by some little bureaucratic twit who is impressed with his or her own power. Welcome to America, the fascist state.

  2. Exercise your true freedom and vote with your feet. Get out of Oak Park and advise anyone else interested in Freedom to do the same.

  3. This is outrageous!! I’m from Iowa and I see plenty of vegetable gardens in front yards! Hell, I have my own! If you keep the garden maintained, like you said you did, there should be no problem at all! I know there are loads of people all across the world who grow vegetables in their front yards. You know what you should do- plant a fruit tree. It’s a tree, like they said they wanted in yards, but its also edible. Throw that in their faces. Who is the person prosecuting you? I would love to contact them and express my disbelief with their decision to try to prosecute you, and I’m sure many others would partake as well.

  4. I don’t blame the city this woman may have a nice neat garden but I live in hamtramck and alot of people from other countries move here tear out the grass and plant flowers vegatables and who knows what,but they all end up being an over grown weed bed and nothing is done. so i feel sorry for this lady but it over all that the city has to look at

  5. Hi,

    This really is stupid. and I can not believe they are trying to prosecute!

    Anyway. There seems to be a really simple and quick solution to this. Could you get all the neighbours whose kids have been coming by, to spend next weekend planting some carrots in their front yards. Then the point about it not being common has been hit out the park. And imagine how stupid the prosecutor will look when you provide photos of 5 or 10 other front gardens all looking similar.

    Go for it, this should be a win for common sense.


  6. If its based on common. Then find a few other people in the neighborhood that are willing to plant a garden in their front yards. Then you are not unusual 🙂


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.