top of page

Winning The War Against Gardens!

Why Are Some lawmakers Trying To Stop Your Right To Grow Food? ...And How To Grow Your Food Economically!


Feminine energy is often associated with qualities like intuition, nurturing, receptivity, and connection with nature. Gardening is a powerful expression of these traits, offering a direct interaction with the life force of the Earth. People who plant things expect an outcome, although they don't always know what that will be and sometimes receive something very different than they had in mind! If you garden you find yourself intrigued by some of the challenges, and looking up close at nature piques one's curiosity.

While gardening is legal in most states, there are a few where it is either restricted or illegal. For example, in Miami Shores, Florida, it was once illegal to grow vegetables in your front yard. However, this law was recently overturned. In some states, there are restrictions on the types of plants you can grow. From Michigan to Massachusetts, people have been thwarted—or even outright banned—from growing food on their own property. But thanks to the concerted efforts of people CivilEats.com and their legal allies, “right to garden” laws are slowly gaining traction. Such legislation remains scarce at the state level, however—only Illinois and Florida have laws on the books, although Maine recently updated its constitution with a “right to food” amendment.


It may come as a surprise to some, but there are actually states in the U.S. where it is illegal to grow a garden in your own yard. While gardening is a popular hobby and a way to provide fresh produce for your family, some states have restrictions on what you can grow and where you can grow it. In this post, we will explore the question of "what states is it illegal to grow a garden" and delve into the reasons behind these laws.


"City regulations, homeowners’ association guidelines, and other ordinances have often been invoked to force gardeners to remove their plants. The arguments put forth against gardening have been myriad and occasionally baffling: greenhouses reduce property values, raised beds do not conform to the aesthetics of a well-tended yard, and vegetables growing in the ground are unsightly, among others. Such criticisms tend to be rooted in discrimination, said Ari Bargil, an attorney with the Institute for Justice who has represented several gardeners. “These are classist restrictions that are designed to make neighborhoods look a certain way.” They also may be ways to stop movement toward Green gentrification that is extremely inclusive to all ethnicities and cultures.


Although urban greening is universally recognized as an essential part of sustainable and climate-responsive cities, a growing literature on green gentrification theorized that new green infrastructure, and greenspace in particular, could contribute to gentrification, thus creating social and racial inequalities in access to the benefits of greenspace and further environmental and climate injustice.


Numerous studies have identified inequities by race and class when it comes to area of accessible parks, park quality, and park maintenance and safety in the Global North, including in the United States, France, Germany, Spain, and Australia. Empirical research on the topic ranges from an early study of Milwaukee, which pointed at a significant positive correlation between residential tree canopy cover and median household income, to recent research demonstrating that place-based race, ethnicity and poverty factors are important correlates of poor spatial access to parks and other greenspaces.


These inequities in access to green infrastructure and greenspace have been linked with uneven negative ecological and climate impacts in cities and attributed to a historical and social context that produced and entrenched patterns of exclusion, segregation, or unequal urban development more generally. To put it simply when the community was one that was majority BIPOC cities discouraged gardens foliage, tree planting and nature park access. When it was a neighborhood that was primarily white access to these things were expanded and city money allotted for its care and maintenance


A 2022 study in Detroit found that most community gardens are in neighborhoods with younger, affluent, well-educated residents, and home gardens are more frequent in areas that are in renewal. And researchers found no correlation between urban gardening and potential gentrification. A landmark report conducted by University of Michigan environmental sociologist Dorceta Taylor in 2014 warned of the “arrogance” of white environmentalists when they introduce green initiatives to black and brown communities. Green groups “presumed to know what’s best” for communities of color without including them in the decision-making and planning processes. In fact, this is exactly what was happening in Detroit!


The tree-planters met stiff resistance: Roughly a quarter of the 7,500 residents they approached declined offers to have new trees planted in front of their homes. The rejections had more to do with how the tree-planters presented themselves and residents’ distrust of city government than it did with how residents felt about trees. A couple of African-American women exposed what linked the tree-planting program to a painful racist moment in Detroit’s history, right after the 1967 race rebellion,(The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street Riot, and the Detroit Uprising, was the bloodiest of the urban riots in the United States) when the city suddenly began cutting down elm trees in bulk in their neighborhoods. The city did this, so that law enforcement and intelligence agents could better surveil their neighborhoods and employ snipers from helicopters and other high places after the urban uprising.


The city was chopping down trees at a faster clip at this time in a neighborhood they had historically ignored they now claimed they were spending thousands because of concern with Dutch Elm disease. And the city was flying helicopters over their homes at one point—to spray toxic DDT from above on the trees. It was well known at the time that DDT is ineffective at preventing the spread of Dutch elm disease (DED). In fact, in the 1950s, DDT spraying programs in the American Midwest and New England killed millions of birds while failing to protect elm trees. DDT is a persistent pesticide that can remain toxic in the soil for a long time, and can be carried into lakes and streams by runoff. What DDT does do is make sure you can't garden safely for years!


"Firstly, it's important to note that the laws regarding gardening vary from state to state. Some states have restrictions on certain plants or vegetables that are considered invasive species or may pose a threat to local ecosystems. Other states have restrictions on where you can grow your garden, such as front yards or within a certain distance from the street.


There are also some states that have homeowners associations with strict regulations on what types of landscaping are allowed on a property. It's important to research your local laws and regulations before starting a garden to avoid any legal issues. However, it's also important to advocate for the freedom to grow your own food and the benefits that gardening can bring to individuals and communities." (gardenplanner.com)


If you're wondering what states it is illegal to grow a garden in, here are a few:


Florida: In this state, homeowners associations can ban gardens in front yards, citing aesthetic reasons.

Oklahoma: In some cities, homeowners are required to have a minimum amount of grass in their front yard, making it difficult to have a vegetable garden.

Utah: In this state, it is illegal to grow any type of plant that is considered a noxious weed, including some popular garden plants.


Seed Collecting

As far as ‘collecting’ seeds, in the U.S. it would depend on the source - If one’s ‘collecting’ them from public land it would depend on local laws, but I doubt very much if anyone would complain. If one’s going onto private land to collect there could be trouble if one doesn’t get permission to do so. SEED 411 Harvest seeds from the fruit when the fruit is fully mature, but not rotten. Separate seeds from the surrounding fruit tissue or pulp and allow them to air dry on wax paper or a wax coated paper plate for several days. Keep out of direct sunlight but place them in a well ventilated area with low humidity.


Farmers Markets are best for seed collecting! Even organic seed packets are $2-3 dollars a pack from the nearest store, and sometimes only have 5-10 seeds. Many store bought produce wont grow viable fruits. There's also issues with hybrid plants, and other GMO seeds which wont grow at all. Most pepper seeds will germinate, especially if they come from red-ripe fruit, since green peppers are not really and truly ripe.


Things that don't provide ripe seeds include grocery store zucchini and cucumbers. You should grow sweet potatoes, which can be grown organically in your area very easily. One sweet potato can set you up for life. Keep in mind some produce can only grow via cuttings, so the seeds may produce a terrible plant. Also, in theory many fruits and vegetables are protected by patents, so don't make a nursery full of something to sell for profit. Organic garlic, lettuces & greens of all sorts are easy to grow in pots, on the ground, wherever AND you can let it go to seed for later! Onions are also easy, almost impossible to not grow well under almost any conditions, green or otherwise.


Buy organic heirloom varieties. You'll be out a little cash on the seeds in year one, but then you will be saving seeds from your own plants forever. Best place for this is a farmer's market. Go near closing time, and buy some of the more rotten tomatoes, produce. Throw them straight into your compost pile; when the seedlings sprout, transplant them and see what happens.


The issue you will deal with most is cross-pollination when growing multiple heirloom varieties. The fruit looks the same regardless of whether you've had cross-pollination, so you only find out after planting the seeds if they bred true or not. Contact your local gardening club, master gardeners association or ag extension office, many times they have seed sharing programs.


Avoid hybrids! The problem with seed-saving from hybridized plants like tomatoes isn't that it's 'modified' but that it's not genetically 'stable' -- heirlooms will produce fairly consistent results one generation to the next, although with more variation among individual plants than those grown from F1 hybrid seed. Hybrids will not, as they're not self-sustaining. Saving hybrid seed might get you undesired traits, wimpy plants, crap production or maybe no production at all. Only some of your plants might end up the way you want, and it might take about seven or more generations to get them steady. Which could be nice, but only if you have the space and the time to bother with it!

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page