Don’t even think about planting organic vegetables in your front yard if you live in Oak Park, Michigan!
When Julie Bass planted a vegetable garden in her front yard, the last thing she expected was to be visited by city enforcement officers, ticketed for a code violation then charged with a misdemeanor and facing jail time for refusing to remove the plants.
Yes. Jail time. For planting a frickin’ VEGETABLE GARDEN.
The Bass story began in the spring with the replacement of a sewage pipe in front of the home owned by Jason and Julie Bass in Oak Park, Michigan. Instead of replanting grass Julie decided to grow a vegetable garden to be able to feed her family quality organic vegetables while giving the neighborhood children something interesting to look at instead of a grassy lawn.
"We checked with the city, we checked with the neighbors, and we planted a garden. That’s it. We now find ourselves in a storm of controversy worthy of some high level mischief, seriously? It’s a garden, it’s not a high crime or treason or murder," said Bass. "It's vegetables."
So even if it is YOUR property, and even if you paid for the property and pay taxes on the property, that’s still not enough for somebody at Oak Park City Hall.
Here's a local news report that includes pictures of the suspicious garden:
The Oak Park ordinance requires that the front yard contain “suitable" live plant material. Asked if she thought it was suitable live plant material, Bass said:
It’s definitely live, it’s definitely plant, it’s definitely material.
An official from the City of Oak Park said that according to Webster’s Dictionary, the word ‘suitable’ means ‘common.’ Apparently squash and beans aren't that common - who knew?
But as the anchor of the above story asked:
Is Julie’s vegetable garden really worth the city’s time and money?
The Bass family has supporters all around the world. This petition to the Oak Park Planning Director has more than surpassed its goal (and you can still add your name to it). This Facebook page is one of the busiest I've seen lately, with some of its 13,000+ fans posting their words of support for the Bass family literally every hour. As someone in Texas said:
If a garden can be established on the lawn of the White House, why not in an average neighborhood?
And from Australia:
we can plant anywhere in our own yard here in Australia ... sounds rediculous to me that she is being charged ... and why is the reason that vegetable gardens are not suitable anyway???? Weird way to revenue raise and damage a family.
Someone even sent her a ballad that she posted on her blog:
The scofflaw, Julie Bass,
Rejected trees and grass,
And took to life of crime
With parsley, sage and thyme.
Her crime is avant garde:
The beds in her front yard
Contain illegal greens,
Like peppers, peas and beans.
Be sure to add your name to the petition and check out the Facebook page and blog dedicated to the cause. With your help, we can send the message that planting a vegetable garden is a good thing and that the Bass family should not be bullied for making such a healthy, eco-friendly choice!