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Growing Vegetables in Your Front Yard? That’ll Be 93 Days in the Slammer!

By on July 11, 2011

Oak Park, Michigan front yard vegetable garden at the heart of the controversy.

Have you heard about the Oak Park, Michigan woman who’s being prosecuted for growing organic vegetables in her front yard? The penalty could be 93 days in jail if the court finds her raised beds of vegetables are not the “suitable live plant material” required by the city ordinance.

What do you think of that front yard? Looks to us like a new vegetable garden that will fill in and be a feast for the eyes, as well as for the family of eight that lives in the house.

Gardener Julie Bass decided to plant vegetables after her front lawn was torn up for a sewer pipe replacement (oops, the broken pipe was caused by the city’s tree roots). She checked with the city to see if she could put in a front yard vegetable garden and they said any “decorative plantings” were fine. Read the whole story here on her blog.

There’s an online petition to support Julie Bass. This is 2011 so of course there’s also a Facebook page where you can also weigh in and follow the progress of the case.

Organic gardeners are rallying around Julie Bass; Ivette Soler is the author of the new book The Edible Front Yard, and she shares outrage plus edible garden design tips on her newest blog post.

Our own message to the city of Oak Park: We think vegetables (and berries and fruit trees) are “decorative plantings” that are “suitable live plant material”. Raised beds mean the vegetables are even more likely to be healthy and a lush addition to the neighborhood landscape.

Breaking news: All charges were dropped. On August 10, 2011 Julie Bass announced her family was moving to Seattle because her husband was taking a job with The family hoped to stay in Oak Park long enough to finish harvesting their famous garden.

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