This Is All Kinds Of Wrong of the Day: A woman in Oak Park, Michigan is being threatened with substantial jail time for having the audacity to grow vegetables in her front yard.
“The price of organic food is kind of through the roof,” says Julie Bass, who decided instead to grow her own after the city ripped out her grass to replace a sewer line. But the Oak Park officials think Bass’s new garden is unseemly, and have twice ordered her to remove it before slapping her with a misdemeanor.
According to Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski the city’s code states that “a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material.” Says Bass, “[i]t’s definitely live. It’s definitely plant. It’s definitely material. We think it’s suitable.” But to Rulkowski “suitable” means “common.” “So,” he told FOX 2 News, “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.”
But in Bass’s community, a far more common front-yard sight is neighbors admiring her garden. “I have a bunch of little children and we take walks to come by and see everything growing,” says neighbor Devorah Gold. “I think it’s a very wonderful thing for our neighborhood.” “They don’t have (anything) else to do (if) they’re going to take her to court for a garden,” adds neighbor Ora Goodwin. In fact, every single neighbor approached by FOX 2 thought Bass should be allowed to keep her garden.
For her part, Bass says she intends to fight the city’s charge. “I could sell out and save my own self and just not have them bother me anymore,” she says, “but then there’s no telling what they’re going to harass the next person about.”
Her next pre-trail hearing has been set for July 26.
Watch FOX 2 News’s report below: