Oak Park, Michigan: Where Growing Vegetables is a Crime
Written by Jason Knapfel for DietsInReview.com
Since when is growing vegetables a crime? When you live in Oak Park, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit) and you do so in your 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,” said Julie Bass, the culprit of this heinous crime.
She was first given a written warning by the city code enforcers. Then she got a ticket. Next was a misdemeanor charge. Bass’ apparent stubbornness may actually land her in jail for up to 93 days.
Here’s where it gets a bit surreal. When asked by the Detroit Fox affiliate what is suitable for front lawns, Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski said the following:
“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,” Rulkowski said.
Not that you have to really fact check this definition of “suitable,” but what Mr. Rulkowski seems to forget is there is something called the Internet where Webster’s dictionary has a website. As you might suspect, “common” is nowhere to be seen in the definition of suitable.
The word “suitable” became an issue because Rulkowski referenced wording in the city code that states that front yards must have “suitable, live, plant material.”
Bass definitely keeps her garden well manicured, much better than I’m sure many more neglected yards look like in her hometown. And really, what’s the difference between a bush that bears no fruit and one that has green peppers on it?
“That’s not what we want to see in a front yard,” said Rulkowski.
Apparently the difference between a green pepper and a bush is enough to possibly land the vegetable grower in jail for three months. While I can’t say that I would fight city hall at the risk of doing hard time, I certainly applaud Ms. Bass for standing up for what she believes in and pursuing her right to a jury trial.
What are your feelings about it? Is the city official right, and will she have to move her veggies to the backyard or try a container garden? Or does Ms. Bass have the right to fight this tooth and nail? Speak your mind here and if you feel bold enough, drop Mr. Rulkowski an e-mail to tell him what you think.
Story and image sourced from TheAgitator.com