Productive Property vs. the Lawn Police

Friday, January 4, 2013
Posted in category Totalitarian Government

It’s amazing to see the number of individuals who are being persecuted for using their own property for productive purposes. This house and garden in Florida violated an “appearance code.” Appearance is always subjective, that is, until the government perverts definitions to enforce its arbitrary laws.

Individuals who defy the crazed American Lawn Worship Culture and instead plant useful, organic gardens are the new outlaws. Here’s a case from earlier this year, in a suburb near where I live, where a woman was treated like a criminal for growing contraband in her front yard: tomatoes, zucchinis, and peppers. Here’s how the lawn became a garden:

Bass got the idea to plant a garden in front yard after it was torn up over a busted sewage pipe.

“There were piles of dirt outside and we knew we had to do something,” Bass said. “We looked into putting in sod but it was shockingly expensive, so we starting looking into other books to do something a little more cost effective. We found pictures in a bunch of different library books of garden beds. It was perfect and we had a blank canvas.”

City ordinances usually require plantings in the front yard to be “suitable plant material.” Suitable according to a strange culture that worships chintzy, worthless lawns in place of innovative productive land use.

A neighbor on my street has a front yard that looks like a trash can flew over the house and emptied on the lawn – the whole square is littered with stupid plastic trinkets, dumb decorations, plexiglass, broken fencing, and unmaintained plantings. It’s a looks like a trailer park dumping ground, and yet, it is all perfectly legal and city approved. The cars up on blocks are okay, as well as the front yard-turned-patio-bricks for the purposes of parking the family rust bucket on wheels. Yet a garden in my front yard – and I’d love to have one – would bring me citations and the threat of handcuffs.

In Massachusetts, these criminals were forced to disassemble their ingenious tomato garden. Here is an interesting quote from the article.

That, says Emily Broad Lieb, director of the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, is a problem caused in part by “age-old zoning rules” bumping into people’s desire to grow their own food.

“It’s such a human thing,” she says. “It’s not like they’re building a space shuttle on their front lawn.”

She sees the Newton case as a microcosm of a problem that is popping up more and more, from battles over rooftop and urban gardens to bureaucracy surrounding farmers markets. Modern laws often jettison agriculture and food production to backyards and far-flung rural areas, she says. But with individuals and communities now interested in taking back some or all of their food production, “people are starting to realize that we have to change the rules.”

This is not a uniquely American stupidity – Canada is also turning gardeners into lawbreakers. This beautiful garden in Quebec was also targeted by local totalitarians.

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4 Responses to Productive Property vs. the Lawn Police

  1. Bob Roddis says:

    January 4th, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    1.  These lawn police were in Oak Park!  I grew up in Oak Park. I guess the lawns have to go with the superior and artistic architecture of the nearly identical 3 bedroom houses which are in the background here:    

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bob_roddis/871368950/

    Nothing has changed in 52 years.

    2.  With private neighborhoods, people could have whatever yard  appearance rules they might want. These lawn Nazi rules are the result of the LCD of democracy in action.  

  2. Bob Roddis says:

    January 4th, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Since it’s illegal to vet the inhabitants of a neighborhood in advance (which would/could be done in private neighborhoods), hassling people about their lawns and houses is an alternative method of driving out the riff raff in a town that borders 8 Mile.  It’s like requiring one acre lots at 28 Mile.

  3. Alan A says:

    January 4th, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    This reminds me of the worries I heard today that low-wage earners will be unable to get any work and face increasing costs of living as technology improves.  Wow, the government reduced the supply of food with these bans on front lawn gardens, and I’m sure taxes have made living even more expensive.

    To property rights regarding lawns, people constantly cite property values going down as an excuse for these bans. I suppose that works for the private neghborhoods that require agreements to look exactly like everyone else (or whatever) in order to move in, but city tyrants are worthy of disrespect for trying this when contracts were not signed. I suppose it’s nurtured for these cities to do this because government can be looked up to as a way to improve a city’s looks, but free market ideas and non aggression is nowhere close.

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