Judge Rules Government Can Ban Vegetable Gardens Because They’re ‘Ugly’
Categories: Urban Issues, Green, Health & Nutrition, Homes / Dwellings, constitutionality, Extra, News
By Matt Agorist via The Mind Unleashed
Miami, FL — Last week, a Miami-Dade judge became the focus of much-deserved anger when she ruled on an ordinance banning front yard vegetable gardens. The village of Miami Shores, according to the ruling, has every right to take legal action against residents who dare to grow food in their own yards because they are “ugly.”
The ruling was a whopping ten pages long as it was filled with legal analysis and definitions of what constitutes a vegetable. Even though she ruled in favor of the ban, Judge Monica Gordo acknowledged that she wasn’t quite sure how a vegetable garden can ruin the aesthetics of one’s property.
However, she stated that the democratically elected government has every right to dictate what constitutes an ugly front yard, and gardens are apparently a contributing factor.
“Given the high degree of deference that must be given to a democratically elected governmental body … Miami Shores’ ban on vegetable gardens outside of the backyard passes constitutional scrutiny,” Gordo wrote.
The court’s decision was based on a three-year long legal battle of Tom Carroll and Hermine Ricketts. They were facing a fine of $50 a day, not for robbing banks, or trafficking humans, or running some other criminal enterprise — but for growing their own food.
For 17 years, the couple grew their own food in their front yard until one day, the state came knocking.
No one was harmed by the couple’s garden, it was entirely organic, and in nearly two decades, not one of their neighbors ever complained. The only injured party in this ridiculous act was the state.
In modern day American cities, growing your own food has now become a revolutionary act:
According to the legislation, all homeowners are subject to the same constraints. Their yards must be covered in grass — that is the law.
“There certainly is not a fundamental right to grow vegetables in your front yard,” Richard Sarafan, attorney for Miami Shores, said at the start of the case. “Aesthetics and uniformity are legitimate government purposes. Not every property can lawfully be used for every purpose.”
The hubris that it takes to claim that no one has a right to grow vegetables in their front yard is mind blowing. Carroll and Ricketts’ yard is not publicly owned and is not subject to the government’s ‘uniformity’ code — especially when all they are doing is growing food.
This case is different than many of the other gardening cases that arise across the country as the majority of front yard gardens are opposed by Home Owner Associations — not the government. When an HOA tells someone they cannot grow a garden it’s because that person voluntarily agreed to the rules.
Unlike members of HOAs, however, Carroll and Ricketts never agreed to these arbitrary constraints on their private property, which happened to be imposed on them nearly two decades after they’d been growing their own food.
While Ricketts and Carroll are upset over the ruling, the do not plan on backing down anytime soon.
“I am disappointed by today’s ruling,” Ricketts said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “My garden not only provided us with food, but it was also beautiful and added character to the community. I look forward to continuing this fight and ultimately winning so I can once again use my property productively instead of being forced to have a useless lawn.”
According to the report in the Miami Herald:
The upscale village in Northeast Miami-Dade has long insisted it had every right to regulate the look of the community. At a hearing in June, the village’s attorney said vegetable gardens are fine in Miami Shores, as long as they remain out of sight in the backyard.
“There is no vegetable ban in Miami Shores,” Sarafan told the judge. “It’s a farce. A ruse.” However, it’s not a farce. People cannot grow food in their front yards because the government thinks they are unsightly.
“They can petition the Village Council to change the ordinance. They can also support candidates for the Council who agree with their view that the ordinance should be repealed,” Gordo wrote.
However, that is what this couple has been doing for years. Changing the system from within has had zero effect.
The irony here is that had Carroll and Ricketts been growing their garden in the backyard, spraying gallons of glyphosate and permethrin into the air, the city would have been entirely fine with it. Only when this innocent couple dares to grow food in their front yard, violating the “aesthetics and uniformity” of their control freak government, do they ever hear a word.
“If Hermine and Tom wanted to grow fruit or flowers or display pink flamingos, Miami Shores would have been completely fine with it,” said their lawyer, Ari Bargil with the Institute of Justice. “They should be equally free to grow food for their own consumption, which they did for 17 years before the village forced them to uproot the very source of their sustenance.”
Insert from the editor: Miami Florida as we all know has a beautiful, moist, tropical climate in which everything will grow. Many people move to Florida with excitement at the understanding that they can grow the garden of their dreams if they so desire. When you drive around Miami, a little to the south toward Homestead, farms are plentiful, and roadside produce is available for sale.
It was much understood in the World War II era that home-based gardens are an insulation against catastrophe. Florida is under legislation to construct buildings to be hurricane resistant, but if the "big one" does come through, long lived power outages and retail shortages in the high-population city will put tens of thousands of lives in jeopardy. Preppers know, that it is for the safety and health of the family that such a garden should be right next to the home, and a family has their own built-in backup supply of food. It makes more sense to require people to have a vegetable garden than it does to ban one. It is possible that city decisions to spray for Zika virus are detrimental and dangerous to those who might consume foods that have been sprayed, and such a concealed rationale might be known only to city managers, but any such concern should be public knowledge #1.
Jails, guns, and badges are to be used for crimes against humanity. Not to enforce traffic signals, pet rules, gardening rules,etc. Such trivial persuits must be removed from the category of law enforcement and moved over into a "community planning" category where jail, guns, and badges are never an option, and agressive action would be basic collections. ~local resident David Webster
Meanwhile, on the other side of South Florida, where life is laid back and casual, there are some island adventures to be had. Check these stories out where there's less government to bother you:
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This Gorgeous Lake House right next to the Everglades in West Miami is for sale for only $499,000. If you love to fish, to gator, to explore or take off across the waters in an airboat, this might be the kind of place for you!