Killer Tomatoes

The Oak Park front yard vegetable garden controversy has been blogged and twittered by folks from The Planet Ann Arbor to Timbuctoo – “gone viral” as they say — so I am well aware that most of you are not reading about it here first.

If you have taken up residence under my recently vacated rock (yes, the amethyst one, make yourself at home), the story goes that a family in Oak Park (it’s a Dee-troit suburb) planted a vegetable garden in their front yard and a city official (we’ll just call him Zippy the Pinhead) cited them for violation of some vaguely worded city ordinance or whatever and told them they had to move their garden to the back. They refused and the whole thing went to court and, well, if you want accurate details, check out the gardener’s blahg: (I didn’t link to her, she has enough traffic, not to mention phone calls and interviews and things, and she is trying to *reply* to them all. All. But she is a wonderful writer and is handling the whole thing with much more grace and courage and a *much* better sense of humor than *yer* fav-o-rite blahgger would! So check out her blog.)

Is this insanity or what? A vegetable garden? How can a vegetable garden be a bad thing? The local officials here on the Planet Ann Arbor have been known to do some loony things but they have not outlawed vegetable gardens. Even in the front yard.

The beautiful vegetable garden in the photo belongs to some neighbors of mine. It is in their front yard and I am envious. I am envious of anyone who can grow things. My neighbors. Some of my nieces. The Botanist. The Beautiful Aunt Suzie in Fla with her exotic fruits. Even my daughters have shown some talent at getting green things to grow, although neither of them have the time or space to do much gardening at the moment.

I am a huge wannabee gardener. Alas, I have a black thumb! Or maybe I don’t. Maybe I just don’t have enough guzzinto to get out there and *persist* in doing some of the hard work involved in gardening. I can always use the excuse, “I don’t have time.” I have a full-time career, right? Roight. I used that same taaarrrred old excuse when I did not have a full-time career. This year, like every year, I day-dreamed about having a garden. With vegetables. I thought I would try starting small, with a couple containers of, I dunno what. Basil (as I just told Sam in an email), maybe. I use a lot of basil and I have actually *grown* it before. Successfully, even. My excuse this year even has a bit of validity to it. What with living the life of a 21st century nomadic enigma, I was hardly home at the Landfill and, when I was, if I wasn’t doing the most basic of things necessary to keep a 21st century landfill going, I was sitting in the back room staring into space.

I think gardens are a *good* thing! I think we should be encouraging people to grow their own food in whatever nook or cranny they have access to. In the last couple weeks, there has been a *storm* of publicity about the “obesity epidemic” and the “food deserts” that force so many of our most impoverished citizens to subsist on cheap, unhealthy snack foods. And what if everyone had a garden in their front yard? Maybe that would get people talking to each other a bit more. Maybe if more people were outside working in their [front yard] gardens, a few more criminals might be deterred.

Many people have written more eloquently than I have about this issue. I actually think that the Oak Park city officials will come to their senses and back down. They are getting negative publicity from all over the world. I hope that the people of Oak Park will get more involved in local politics and vote somebody besides Zippy and his crew into office. I am no poster child for city involvement myself but I am earnestly trying to get more engaged in the local government here on the planet. I hope we can get rid of some of the clowns (yes) here. Sigh…

Enough for now. If you are a gardener, I hope your garden is thriving. I wonder if there is hope for me and my black thumb…

2 Responses to “Killer Tomatoes”

  1. Margaret Says:

    That’s kind of funny. I think plants are beautiful–all of them. (let’s not talk about how our few tomato plants in the BACK are doing–blame it on the weather!) This makes me wonder if my development has an ordinance against food gardens in the front. I have lots and lots of flowers up there, but that’s just because I love them. Hmmm. Might have to check my covenants.

  2. jay Says:

    Seattle had a law that did not allow front yard vegetable gardens. Past tense. I know this because when it was repealed they had a picture of a neighbors corn stalks in the parking strip. I am not sure if this started with the parking strips being owned by the City, or if it was when they had Victory gardens – but wanted them relegated to the back yards. … Really, those were just two thoughts I had.