Fight for Your Right to Grow Food

Homeowners Across the Country Face Citations for Illegal Gardening

Illegal GardeningWorld Wars I & II coined the victory garden. Front yard garden tomatoes, peppers and corn were seen not as acts of defiance, but instead as expressions of patriotic national support. Today, in states across the U.S., there instead seems to be a war on gardens. Municipalities are citing homeowners for their "defiant" green thumbs and in some cases going so far as plowing under residential front yard gardens. In most instances, city codes state that front yards must have "appropriate" or "suitable" ground cover — they mean grass or low shrubs. Gardeners are challenging the definitions of what constitutes suitable, claiming homeowners have the basic right to grow food on their properties.

Global wars continue, food and water shortages are eminent and climate change threatens land and growing ability everywhere. Faced with these challenges, city and suburban dwellers across the country are digging into the dirt to reconnect with their food, helping their homes and cities become more food self-sufficient in the process. The "defiant" gardens profiled in the articles listed here (and MOTHER's reader reports, below) are sparking a national debate, challenging our perception of subversive plots and recasting the image of the modern victory garden.

Illegal Gardens in the News

Des Moines, Iowa. Illegal Front Yard Vegetable Gardens: Des Moines Considers Home Garden Ban
By Kale Roberts. MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Feb. 7, 2013.

Des Moines, Iowa. Seeds of Discontent in West Des Moines?
By Emily Schettler and Jennifer Jacobs. Des Moines Register, Feb. 7, 2013.

Orlando. Fla. Continuing Fight for the Right to Grow Food: Orlando's War on Gardens
By Kale Roberts. MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Nov. 29, 2012.

Orlando, Fla. Homeowners Cited for Illegal Gardening: Orlando Couple Fight forthe Right to Grow Food
By David Yener Goodman. MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Nov. 15, 2012.