Josée Landry and Beauchamp have violated a city bylaw. They will follow city rules or pay heavily.
Landry and Beauchamp figured their front yard in Drummondville, Quebec, could be put to better use than growing grass. They wanted to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle. So they ripped up the sod, built raised beds, and began growing vegetables. Their video shows all that was involved in creating their urban garden.
By May the garden was thriving, with neat rows of seedlings, leafy vegetables, and the promise of a tasty harvest. That’s when city hall let them know they were facing fines up to $300 a day if they persisted with their infraction.
They have run afoul of a bylaw that limits their vegetable patch to 70 percent of their front lawn. Drummondville says the other 30 percent belongs to the municipality, and the city wants grass on its part.
The only reason the couple can have that much of an urban vegetable garden is that they lived in St. Charles de Drummond before it was annexed by Drummondville in 2004. Residents in the latter city can’t have vegetable gardens out front, period.
The pair argue they had verbal permission from the city before they started their major project. The city says there must have been a misunderstanding. Two warnings later, Landry and Beauchamp were ordered to comply with the bylaw or pay heavy fines.
They did what a lot of determined people do, went public. Inspired by the bed-in that brought so much attention to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, they moved a bed into their garden and posted signs such as “Give peas a chance.” Media appeared. The Twittersphere buzzed, and the couple dubbed their garden “Rosa”, as a nod to Rosa Parks.
The city backed down, though only until September 1st. Landry and Beauchamp are scheduled to appear at city hall on August 13th. By then they may have enough support to show Drummondville that times have changed. People want healthy food. They want food security. The idea that a front-yard vegetable garden is an eyesore is gradually giving way to a different aesthetic, one that sees beauty in peas.
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Photo from video by Josée Landry via YouTube