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Interview with the "illegal" front-yard gardeners in Orlando  RSS feed

 
David Good
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A lot of you probably saw the article last week on Jason and Jennifer Helvenston (misspelled "Helvingston" in the original story), the couple in Orlando who were ordered to tear out their organic front-yard garden. I did too, and got a bit ticked... so I looked them up myself and did an interview over Skype.

They're our kind of people. Community oriented, ecologically conscious, good neighbors, etc. If anyone's interested, the video is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54VN9NKZcXs&feature=youtu.be
 
Paulo Bessa
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I admire these people. It is revolting that these type of activities are considered "illegal". There is a anti-nature kind of dictatorship in some certain authority people and laws...
 
David Good
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Totally. When I lived in small town in TN, it was ridiculous the restrictions they put on urban homestead types. No livestock - including bees! And you had to keep your grass short, etc.

Talk about a dead-end.

The Helvenston's are just getting started... I've invited them to visit my own permaculture gardens here in N FL and when they do, I'll hook them up with more perennials, etc. They're the real deal.

I think the tide is turning, and will turn, as people stand up for their right to grow food.
 
Arrow Durfee
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I've just gotta ask though, being that these folks are sustainability experts of some sort...

what to they think about the errosion that they have created onto the sidewalk and driveway?
some of the phots show soil on the sidewalks.

This garden needs a retaining wall and that really might help their situation with the neighbors as well as soil retention.

Seems that more and more front yard gardeners are winning when it comes to this regulations issue.
they do need to be conscious of the appearace of their property as they do it. Others have spent considerable amounts of money time and life energy
to be in that neighborhood. Respect will win more for the sustainablitily movement and a fight.
 
Clifford Gallington
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Location: Kansas
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Even in the middle of agriculture America we are not allowed to have chickens. Rabbits are still ok, but we have been visited by the city for having 4 rabbits in a very nice building. We figure it is only time for them.
I did hear one town in Nebraska is working toward outlawing vegetable gardens.

Sickens me
 
David Good
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@Arrow Durfee

Though the husband does a lot with energy savings, etc., this is their first year gardening. I get the feeling they're still figuring things out. When I remember the stupid stuff I did before I knew better...

@Clifford Gallington

Yeah. That's madness. There's a deeper evil here than just things "looking nice." It's like there's a Satanic backlash against people taking care of themselves. That's the only way I can explain it. Seriously screwed up.

 
John Polk
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Sadly, this type of harassment is taking part in many urban/suburban areas of the US and CA.

It appears that the Helvenston's are creating enough waves that the news media and the general public are swinging in their favor. The city is back-pedaling on the issue as support is leaning in favor of the gardeners.

I feel that each victory on this battlefield will make it that much harder for any city/community to try to enforce such short sighted policies in their jurisdictions. A victory here can help 1,000's of other families across our land, and the land itself.

More info here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uyn7URfKCXM&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdnf8j8NZ9E&feature=related

Please lend your support so that the battlefield does not spread to your front/back yards.

 
David Good
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@John

Yes - the city took an official stance that they're easing up. Which is good!

I asked Jason and Jennifer, however, and they told me a different story. Apparently, officials are now trying to get them to build a privacy fence or something of the sort. Jason feels like the city gave some nice words to the press in order to quell the outrage pouring in... but he's afraid they're now going to re-write the codes to make it tougher for low-income folks to raise food.

Plus: the citation was still active on their place - it hasn't been removed. I hope that was an oversight, and not deliberate.

I wish we could get everyone to start planting gardens in their front yards. Even one per street would have a serious effect.
 
Clifford Gallington
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Location: Kansas
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a quote from our vice mayor "there is always wal mart"
 
Elisabeth Tea
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My mother fills in the flower beds in her front yard with strawberry plants, but nobody has noticed yet because 1) they're attractive and 2) everyone is looking at the knock-out roses instead. You have to realize that she lives in an area with two governmental units. There is a list of acceptable plants that is strictly enforced. Actually, you even need to get the paint color of your house approved beforehand.

This is just to say that it can be attractively done.
 
John Polk
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It seems as if Jason & Jennifer have a lot of grass roots, and national support at this point.

I sincerely hope that they do NOT back down. Local officials are charged with protecting our freedoms. If they do the opposite, and begin restricting our freedoms, all the grass roots orgs need to remind them of their elected duty, and of the consequences that will happen at the next elections. With enough people, organizations, and news media on your side, the politicians would be foolish to continue on their current path of self-destruction.
 
Arrow Durfee
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It's very hard to change a law once it has been written and precident is made. Many developments have Covenants Conditions and restrictions in place when you buy the home or property. Best not to purchase in an area that is already bound by regulations that you don't like or want in your life.. People need to think these things through before they purchase. Just because your neighbor doesn't water his lawn enough and a freeway is visible from your street does not mean that you can break agreed upon regulations that were in place before the purchase.

Some cities have regulationa and in some places only developments have regulations. CC and Rs must be revealed at the point of sale. If they are not then you have a case. It may be easier to change a city's rules than a development's rules.
 
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