Lock your doors and pull down the shades. It’s happened again.
Our fellow citizens are clearly out of control, and, for our own safety, they must be stopped.
Last year Steve Miller was locked in a legal battle with his local government in DeKalb County outside of Atlanta, Georgia. County officials had labeled him a lawbreaker and were determined to see his crime against society properly punished.
And what was his crime? Why growing vegetables, of course.
That’s right, Miller was blatantly growing organic vegetables in his yard. Not only that, but he was apparently growing entirely too many of them, since he even had extras to give away to neighbors and take to a local farmers’market from time to time. Naturally, DeKalb County officials declared that the madness just had to stop.
Apparently growing fresh veggies has become a crime
But now that same madness seems to have spread jumping four states to the north to Michigan. Yes, it’s time to again batten down the hatches. Apparently local government officials in Oak Park, Michigan have a similar danger to society lurking in their midst, and it may just be a matter of time before you have a veggie-wielding scofflaw in your hometown.
Sure, Julie Bass looks like your average mom. With her pretty auburn hair and her long jeans skirt, you wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her ferrying a car full of kids off to Little League practice or volunteering to help out at the local library.
But if we learned anything from the Steve Miller case, it’s that looks can be deceiving. Bass has also done the unthinkable… like Miller she planted a vegetable garden in her own yard. (Gasp!)
In fact, just one glance at the Bass home clearly reveals this deliberate crime against society… one sees four neatly planted vegetable beds teeming with healthy organic vegetables. Pretty green-pepper plants and baby jalapenos are right there on display for anyone who walks by to see. (However, most of the neighbors choose not to walk by but instead to stop and chat with Julie while the kids help with the gardening.)
According to Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski, “That’s not what we want to see in a front yard.” He says Bass needs to opt for “suitable” plantings, such as a “water-hogging” [my insertion] green lawn and flowers and useless shrubs deemed acceptable by the city.
Who decides what’s “suitable” to grow in YOUR garden?
Then, to prove that Bass is indeed a criminal, Rulkowski points to a vague city code that states, “Unpaved portions of the site shall be planted with grass, shrubbery, or other suitable plant material.”
And since everyone knows that healthy organic vegetables can in no way be considered “suitable plant material,” it’s easy to see why the city had no other choice than to charge Bass with a misdemeanor and take her to court—where she faces a sentence of up to 93 days in jail.
As crazy as it seems, I can, sadly, assure you that this ridiculous story is 100 percent true. Apparently, Oak Park government officials think harassing, prosecuting and possibly even jailing a mom who is growing healthy fresh vegetables for her family in her OWN yard is a reasonable… or perhaps I should say “suitable”… pursuit.
If you agree that the case against Julie Bass is both ridiculous and frivolous and want to add your voice to the chorus of those speaking out in support of the Bass family and the right to grow a garden on your own property, you can sign the petition found here. [Editor’s Note: The petition is no longer active.]
H.L. Mencken once said, “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.” Well, right about now, I’m inclined to think that Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski is starting to bear a little resemblance to our banana-loving cousins.