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Thread: Anti-Farm Cities

  1. #1
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    Default Anti-Farm Cities

    College Park couple says front yard vegetable garden is under fire again

    Helvenstons launch protest of Orlando's law after facing fines

    Author: Kristin Giannas, Reporter,
    Published On: Jan 07 2013 04:38:34 PM EST Updated On: Jan 08 2013 03:21:20 PM EST

    Veggie garden threatened with fines

    ORLANDO, Fla. -

    A College Park couple's vegetable garden is on the chopping block again after the city threatened fines if they don't uproot it by Thursday, according to the Institute for Justice Florida Chapter.

    Jason and Jennifer Helvenston are launching "Plant a Seed, Change the Law," a protest of Orlando’s law, which they say violates their constitutional right to peacefully use their property to grow their own food.

    In November, Local 6 broke the story about the controversial garden after the city told the Helvenstons their 25-by-25-foot front yard vegetable garden was not in compliance with the city's code.

    After hundreds of emails supporting the couple flowed in and initially allowing the Helvenstons to keep their garden, saying it will hold off on violations, the city has since asked the couple to uproot the garden and replace it with a lawn or face fines.
    "The greatest freedom you can give someone is the freedom to know they will not go hungry,” said Jason Helvenston. "Our Patriot Garden pays for all of its costs in healthy food and lifestyle while having the lowest possible carbon footprint. It supplies valuable food while being attractive. I really do not understand why there is even a discussion. They will take our house before they take our Patriot Garden."

    According to Ari Bargil, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, the Helvenstons have a scheduled inspection and will be fined starting on Thursday, up to $500 a day.

    "We are seriously interested in taking a look at this," Bargil said, when asked if the firm would be suing the city of Orlando. "We're focused on helping the Helvenstons get the word out, encouraging the city to reach a sensible compromise here."
    According to a spokesperson for the City of Orlando, no fines will be assessed related to the previous violation. The city says the case is on hold and remains that way.
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    "We are asking residents across Orlando and the country to join us in planting a ‘Patriot Garden’ in their own front yards,” said Jennifer Helvenston. “Please email us at and we will send you a free packet of radish seeds and a small sign for your front yard that says ‘Patriot Garden: Plant a Seed, Change the Law.’"
    Watch Local 6 for more on this story.
    Libertatem Prius!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Anti-Farm Cities

    College Park man fights to keep vegetable garden in front yard

    Orlando says garden against city code

    Author: Kristin Giannas, Reporter,
    Published On: Nov 07 2012 06:45:51 PM EST Updated On: Nov 13 2012 06:57:28 PM EST

    Man fights to keep veggies in yard

    ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando man is fighting city officials to keep his vegetable garden in his front yard.
    You have to step over radishes, wax beans and kale to get to Jason Helvingston's front door in College Park.

    However, his 25 x 25 foot micro-irrigated vegetable garden is against city code, and the city of Orlando has asked Helvingston to dig it up by Wednesday.
    [UPDATE: City allows man to keep veggie garden, considers changing law]
    [READ: Orlando developer flips-flops on layoff threat after Obama re-elected]
    "I said, 'You'll take my house before you take my vegetable garden,'" he said. "There's nothing wrong here, there's nothing poisonous here. This is a sustainable plot of land."

    City code requires ground covers to be planted in a way that gives off a finished appearance so neighborhood lawns are clean, and inviting -- keeping property values up.

    Helvingston has decided not to listen to the city. Instead, he's trying to petition the code to allow for veggie gardens in the front yard.

    He's gathered more than 200 signatures, including one from his neighbor, Shelly Snow.

    "(I'm) definitely not bothered by it. As a matter of fact, we love it," she said.

    Helvingston hopes the city will reconsider the code when he meets with a code board in December.

    "This is another example of the government telling us what we can do with our own property -- that should never happen," he said. "In any economic downturn in the past history of the United States, the government has always encouraged the people to grow their own food, and so we want to continue with that movement."
    Other College Park residents tell Local 6 they're worried the city may come after them about their gardens.
    Greg Clifton tells Local 6 he is growing 1/4 of an acre of vegetables in his backyard.
    "But I have every intention of using my front yard as a garden and I think the more I can grow the better it is," Clifton told Local 6.
    Libertatem Prius!

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