trying to make sense of oak park's war on vegetables
more love from the city of oak park
More pictures of the growing criminal vegetables
July 6, 2011
We will be posting more pictures in the morning!
Jul 06, 2011 @ 21:57:58
Jul 06, 2011 @ 22:19:15
Well thanks! -Julie
Jul 06, 2011 @ 22:41:52
You rock. You really, truly rock.
Jul 06, 2011 @ 22:52:04
What’s Michael Seligson’s email address? I want to ask him if there is any city policy that he will not defend. I also want to thank him for treating the people who helped get him on the school board and city council like crap.
Jul 06, 2011 @ 22:57:10
So…what can we do to help?? This is so outrageous!!! I live in Canada and I don’t know where this Oak Park is, but I sure as h**l wouldn’t want to live there. Can you give us an email to write on your behalf? Also, how can your lawyer think that when you aren’t violating any bylaws, you will likely be in trouble? Isn’t there a lawyer who can really help? Sorry I’m just getting riled right up thinking about it.
Jul 06, 2011 @ 23:08:30
Your garden is really pretty, and mulching just made it look even better. And by the way, I’m not sure how to contact you, but I am:
libbysmom at gmail dot com
Jul 07, 2011 @ 00:24:57
I saw this story on the Take Back Urban Homesteading FB page today and am so shocked that this is a) illegal and b) being prosecuted. I will be writing emails to all your listed people & blogging and linking. Just let me know if there’s anything else you can do.
I live in a decently large city (Portland, OR) and we can have gardens, and bees, and bats, and chickens, and goats…I don’t even understand why anyone would care about tomatoes!
Keep on fighting the good fight! You have a lot of people rooting for you!
Jul 07, 2011 @ 02:44:34
I wish you so much luck on your journey. I recently had a run in with my city council about chickens, though I wish your battle turns out better.
I have to ask, just because so many people on my chicken forum talk about it, are you aware of the MI right to farm act? From my (limited) understanding it’s one of the most liberal in the country. Pretty much as long as you offer something you farm for sale, you are covered under the law. It has gone to court several times and to your supreme court, which upheld it. I am not sure about HOAs (but it doesn’t sound like that is what you are dealing with) but I know it’s been held up against city codes and the farm act has won. It sounds like you have a good atty, but it may be something to look into if s/he isn’t.
Jul 07, 2011 @ 03:03:51
here’s what I’m about to email krulkowski:
i am a former resident of Wayne county, now living in Seattle, where the delights of midwestern tomatoes, sweet corn, and peppers cannot exist.
We do, however have numbers of homes where parking strips are vegetable gardens or decorative gardens, and often enough, the entire front yard. City codes allow as many as three fowl, though no roosters, and an annual chicken beauty contest often makes the local news.
Taking advantage of light and microclimates/wind blocks, etc is terribly important in gardening.
As a former metro Detroiter, i’m just aghast. Detroit’s community gardens are now WORLD famous, and the stuff of UM grad student’s theses. Gardening improves health and lives. The British Medical Journal now nearly a decade ago published a study indicating that elderly british woman gardeners lived, on average NINE years longer than women who do not garden.
Meanwhile, it is the case that public health data project today’s elementary school students will not live as long as their parents.
Further, conventionally raised food is becoming increasingly suspect in its quality and nutritive content, behooving all of us to work on ways to improve and maintain our own nutrition: and teaching children to garden, showing folks what a productive garden is, can only be disliked or found a nuisance by the ignorant.
It is, frankly, shameful to censor what such a family has growing in their front yard. Encouraging planting of perennials that would be found more visually pleasing to the neighbors would be the absolute most reasoned response. Who would complain about a hedge of blueberries or an obscuring planting of raspberries along the sidewalk? Or a grape arbor?
Now is not the time for rigidity or conforming to what are now, frankly, very dated tastes. The urban savanna-lawn is becoming quite passe.
You do know that most of the Detroit city limits was farm and garden, at one time, not long before the Detroit World’s Fair?
You do know that tillable soil is not at a premium, worldwide?
And what of the victory gardens planted all over metro Detroit, and likely where this house was sited prior to its building?
I will end with a reminder that our very founding fathers, Jefferson and Madison, were gardeners, and were not much for the keeping of lawns — unless grazing was involved. They wrote lists of plants: perhaps their writing, esp Jefferson’s, could be referred to when considering what is ‘common’, historically.
My regards to you and your office, despite my exceptions to your sensibilities.
Angeline Johnson, MPH
Jul 07, 2011 @ 06:24:40
Just emailed to the City of Oak Park:
To the Mayor and City Council: What kind of government are you running? Allowing this to happen is totally irresponsible. Soon to be on the National News: “Oak Park, Michigan mother of 6 threatened with 93 days in jail for growing vegetables in her front yard”. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves!
Jul 07, 2011 @ 07:58:08
I just read about your plight via a farm blog I read. Don’t worry, word is spreading. Hopefully the pressure of looking completely foolish will shame Oak Park into backing down. People have the right to grow their own food, wherever and however they wish. If they do not want gardens in Oak Park front yards, the code should specifically state that.
Feel free to move to Holly, Mi. We have cows, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and soon, alpacas. We also have a HUGE garden, visible from the road AND a windmill. Holly is completely farmer-friendly.
Love the blog, keep it up! Good Luck to you and Shame Shame Shame on Oak Park.
Jul 07, 2011 @ 14:12:32
I say what an obscene and scandalous front yard!! I’m going to be a piece of shit neighbor who has nothing better to do with my pathetic house ridden life and complain against you even though it has no consequence against me whatsoever! I’m a swell american!
Jul 07, 2011 @ 15:29:41
A suggestion from my brother Phil: Has anyone gotten Peter Werbe of the WRIF “Nightcall” radio talk show — he also happens to be a political activist and an Oak Park resident — interested in this?
Jul 08, 2011 @ 08:06:27
God bless you and good luck. I hope you beat those bastards and then take your tax dollars elsewhere.
Jul 08, 2011 @ 09:55:56
It looks as if you have Marigolds in you garden. I sure hope no one else in your town has Marigolds because then they would be “common.”
By they way, who tore up your yard with the sewer line? The city? or was it on your side of the sewer?
I am spreading the word about your fight against City Hall.
Phil from Omaha
Jul 08, 2011 @ 23:09:03
I have my square foot garden in my front yard too! I LOVE having it there! I pass it every time I get in the truck. It’s the perfect place because it captures your attention!
And hey… vegetable plants produce FLOWERS!!!!
You can see my garden on my blog: http://mysquarefootgardenadventure.blogspot.com/
Good luck in your veggie fight. I think that it’s *TOTALLY* ridiculous! What a waste of everyone’s time, energy, and money. Hey, you should run for town government… and get your town straightened out!
Jul 09, 2011 @ 09:56:58
I think, like most folks, that you’re situation is ridiculous, and I’ll send a letter later today. I do have to ask you a couple questions, and I hope they don’t come off a rude: have you considered planting something outside of your raised beds? Might that appease the laws? Because throwing a fit because of the raised beds is crazy, but nothing but dirt outside may actual be in violation.
Also, I thought you weren’t supposed to mulch veggies because it traps moisture that can cause rot? I’m not 100% sure of this, but pretty sure from my own gardening.
Jul 10, 2011 @ 00:05:07
i have considered planting other stuff, but what the city has objected to all along has been the vegetable plants, not the beds or the mulch, or whatever. also, i have been trying to keep modifications to a minimum until things settle down a bit… as far as the mulch, i’ve had quite a few gardeing friends suggest it, so i will hope for the best 🙂 thanks for your input- julie
Jul 10, 2011 @ 00:29:14
Mulching vegetables is GOOD! It holds in moisture and blocks out weeds. Do a Google search on “mulching vegetables” and you will find a TON of info. Here’s just one:
Jul 11, 2011 @ 14:10:50
I wholeheartedly support your cause. I do not have a front yard garden because my front yard is an extremely steep hill, but it gets the best light in my yard and I would otherwise be all over it. My sister has a front yard veggie garden and her neighbors are very supportive. In fact, when the inspector came to issue permits to replace their front stairs and walkway, he commented on how “cool” it was.
I do have one concern about the mulch though. It looks like you used a dyed red mulch. You should always avoid dyed mulches in edible gardens because the chemicals are absorbed by the plants and then eaten by you and your family. The dyes used in mulches are not food-grade/food-safe dyes. Also, red mulch is bad in general because red dyes are harmful to earthworms, and you always want to encourage earthworms in your soil.
There is a natiowide movement toward front yard gardens. It shouldn’t take long for this to go viral.
Jul 11, 2011 @ 21:02:10
thanks, kristin- it’s so funny because i just read an article (i think in grit magazine) that says red mulch is the best kind to use for tomatoes. they could fill libraries with the amount of information i DON’T know about gardening 😉
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