For some strange reason, helping yourself is the very last thing the governments in both the U.S. and Canada will "allow" you to do; not even on your own land. Stranger still, it is the lower-rung, local governments that show up in news stories extinguishing property rights in the name of almighty municipal code.
Josée Landry and partner Michel Beauchamp decided to start an urban garden for both economic and health reasons, and they even have documented its progress via their family blog since its beginning.
Now it seems that they find themselves forced to take a stand for another basic civil right: food freedom. Instead of allowing this garden to flourish and nourish, local officials in Canada now want to make any new front yard gardens completely illegal by autumn, along with uprooting Rosa.
The crackdown on home gardening has been marching across the first world at a rapid pace of late.
This latest move in Canada follows a similar pattern; by enforcing an arbitrary code that front yard gardens (also called kitchen gardens) are only allowed, at the bare minimum, less than 30% vegetation.
Not only does the city want most of the couple's garden uprooted and tossed, but they are seriously discussing outlawing all future front yard gardens!
The couple was facing fines of between $100 and $300 per day if they did not comply by yesterday.
As per usual, the local authorities love to vaguely claim that there have been neighbor complaints. CEO of Drummondville, Claude Proulx, called it a question of "uniformity of the urban fabric."
But, Beauchamp has been open with his neighbors, and they have shared the fun and eats. He has had no inkling of anyone disliking the tidy and delicious landscape, adding,
"They love it. Everybody is surprised by the kind of taste we can have from fresh vegetables." (Source)
Take some tips from this video of their garden's formation:
Urban kitchen garden activist and blogger Roger Doiron got behind the fight and organized an impressive worldwide petition called Stop the War on Front Yard Vegetable Gardens. As of Sunday, they had 800 signatures, yesterday 8,000, and today almost 11,000 and counting. The couple's "bed-in" peaceful protest, Lennon-Ono style, also garnered much support and media attention.
By the way, Doiron is the one who apparently encouraged Michelle Obama to grow the Presidential garden. No sooner had he featured the Canadian garden on his site when they get slammed with threats of hundreds of dollars in fines if they didn't rip it out and replant grass.
What does it ultimately take to stop the rolling boulder of unyielding municipal power?
That allows them to harvest their garden, but then what?
Let's try to revisit these plights to make sure we don't leave them behind in the big fight for all of our food freedom.
Sign the petition:
Personal website of Josée Landry and partner Michel Beauchamp:
Roger Doiron's Kitchen Garden organization with over 24,000 in the online community:
ROSA | Potager Urbain from Samuel Gaudreau on Vimeo.