here is a message from jennifer and jason helvenston that i am passing on. please also use whatever platform(s) you feel appropriate to spread this message about the fight they continue to have over their right to grow food in a way that is sustainable and helps spread positive messages about front yard gardening. if you live near them, i urge you to make time to go in person and show your support for this very important cause. once again, there is a very real fear that once the media attention dies down, the city will trample over a citizen’s rights. let’s do our best not to let that happen on our watch…

*(ed. note: Here’s the contact info for the City Council- thanks to grant!-
http://www.cityoforlando.net/elected/council/index.htm)

Friends and Supporters –

We have attached the new Vegetable Garden Proposal that the city announced 01/08/2013.  Most of our Patriot Garden must go and now they are regulating the back and side yards too.

We have until Tuesday 01/15/2013 at 8:30a to prepare a presentation for the Municipal Planning Board that is selected by Mayor Buddy Dyer.  They have given us little chance for success but we are going to still try.

Here are our major points.
1.  The government shouldn’t be telling us what we can or can’t do with the land we own as long as there are no quantifiable impacts.

2.  The Proposal is a conviction against edible annuals while all other annuals are unrestricted.

3.  The Proposal is a clear strategy against edible gardens by pushing them under the roof line of the building or in its shadow while at the same time requiring year round success.

4.  The Proposal is an assault against the financially less fortunate that cannot afford expensive fences and raised bed structures by pushing their edible gardens even further into the shadows of the building.

5.  The Proposal is discriminating against ALL edible plants by requiring higher standards and special definitions than any other plant in the City’s Landscape Code.  By discriminating against the plants that we eat, you are discriminating against us.

6.  The Proposal is a discredit against sustainability.  The City’s code will allow max. 60% environment crushing grass but only max. 25% edible annuals with no impacts.

The best and fair solution for the City is the simplest.  Edible plants meet the same standards and requirements as all other plants.  An edible ground cover gets treated the same as any other ground cover, an edible annual gets treated the same as any other annual.  Each yard in the City of Orlando must be “kept and maintained” to the same levels as any other yard.  NO HIGHER STANDARDS FOR FOOD.

Therefore, we are creating a formal Landscape Proposal for the MPB from us which states just that.

We are asking all local supporters to attend the Municipal Planning Board meeting on Tuesday the 15th at 8:30a in the City Council Chambers, Orlando City Hall.  Please gather in front of City Hall at 7:30am and wear a GREEN shirt.

Thank you so much for your continued support.  God Bless.

Jason and Jennifer Helvenston