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Cultivate Your Garden! . . . but Not in Front?




Planting a front yard garden for her family has gotten Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan a misdemeanor citation from the city and a court date...and plenty of media attention.

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The Oak Park, Michigan motto is "The Family City." However, one family in this inner suburb of Detroit is thinking the city isn't so family friendly.

Julie Bass planted a vegetable garden in her front yard after the lawn was torn up this past spring for a sewer pipe repair. The garden comprises squashes, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and some flowers.

Julie was told when she was planting the garden it was not in compliance with city ordinances. When she continued to plant, she was cited and a trial date set for July 26.

Julie told the Detroit News the city has not shown her an ordinance that explicitly outlawed gardens in the front yard. She also called the whole thing ''silly,'' particularly given the financial woes of the Detroit area communities.

Rick Fox is the Oak Park city manager. He's responsible for implementing the policies and priorities adopted by city council. The head of the Department of Technical and Planning Services, i.e., ordinances, is Kevin Rulkowski. It's reported Rulkowski received 2,000 emails on Friday July 8 regarding the garden.

Rulkkowski told the Detroit media he hopes the garden is moved to the back yard, and that it's basically a matter of front year aesthetics that the city wants to uphold.

In addition to the local Detroit coverage, a wide variety of media outlets are commenting on the Bass ''case,'' including international media (The Montreal Gazette). Colleen Vanderlinden, co-author of Edible Gardening for the Midwest, posted her consternation on TreeHugger. Pieces on the garden have appeared on such diverse sites as AlterNet.org, Green Chip Stocks and Indybay.org.

There's an ''Oak Park Hates Veggis'' Facebook page www.facebook.com/pages/Oak-Park-Hates-Veggies/184553881597878.

In addition, Julie Bass has created a website http://oakparkhatesveggies.wordpress.com to garner support for her front yard garden.


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December 10, 2019, 7:40 pm PDT

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