Alternatives to Political SystemsConsumerismFood Plants - AnnualFood Plants - PerennialFood ShortagesLandNewsPeak OilSocietyUrban ProjectsVillage Development

Jail Time for Planting Front Yard Garden?

This is by-law madness, and it’ll have to change…. I rather blatantly encourage everyone to disregard dumb rules like this which would stop you from increasing your resiliency and demonstrating better use of your lawn space. The more of us who rebel against absurdity, the easier it becomes to legalise sustainability. I just hope you’ll be smart enough to ensure that your lawn-liberation is done whilst keeping aesthetic standards high as well (i.e. don’t give people justifiable reason to complain!). Julie Bass’ nice tidy veggie planters, which you’ll see in the videos below, are a good example, and only reflect all the more poorly on the neighbours who have complained and the local government who are obviously wholly ignorant of where we presently stand in history….


  1. Ann, thank you for the link. I signed in the petition. I think people should not be victims of fads like growing only inedible plants.

  2. In my comments on the petition I put “Ask the planner to view a copy of the film “garbage warriors”. This is another example of where the US authorities also got it wrong and are now understanding that the legal formulas they are working to are not keeping up with social, health and environmental reality. If the garden becomes a weed, pest or fire hazard problem then prosecute but until then encourage the practice! Community gardens are taking off all over the world. The authority should back flip now and amend their local law because it is going to be much harder to do later on. Security might become a problem but it sounds like veggie recognition is not yet high but will soon be going through the roof! – Well done on sharing this and the local authority there will one day hopefully learn and benefit from this feedback.”
    (I assume it is a sealed sewer and not a septic tank trench – wastewater contaminants and disease causing microbes getting into or onto vegetables can be very problematic!)

  3. This is about more than gardening. Apparently due to the worldwide outrage, the city of Oak Park dropped the gardening charges against Julie.

    HOWEVER, the city prosecutor is now pursuing dog license charges DESPITE Julie’s prompt payment of the license fees and fine:

    And of course that misdemeanor also comes with up to 93 days in jail. Julie is very fortunate to have a competent attorney who might just sue Oak Park and the prosecutor for malicious prosecution.

  4. its just a matter of time— goberments will try to figure out a measure, law etc, saying is a health issue or some other [email protected]$% to keep us away from growing our own organic vegetables or generating our own energy, and that day…we will fight and we will prevail, mark my words. WE WILL WIN.

  5. Dontcha just love the garden furniture out the front of the house !
    That is really scary . People – passers by & residents – may talk to one another & mix & mingle .
    Such very neat & tidy beds too . I agree muchly with the author :
    ” The more of us who rebel against absurdity, the easier it becomes to legalise sustainability.”
    I am tempted to make some smart arse comment like : ” Only in America .”
    But I wont .
    This time .

  6. Growing your own food is about community/family/individual empowerment and this is what centralized governments– arguably, fundamentally undemocratic– are ‘concerned with’…

    “Control the oil and you control entire nations; control the food and you control the people.”
    ~ Henry Kissinger(?)

    “To turn the world into a dependency on staples has nothing to do with feeding the world, it has a lot to do with controlling the food supply. The United States evolved a phrase during the Vietnam war, and the phrase was; ‘Food as a weapon’; the use of food as the ultimate weapon of control. And the trajedy is, the growth of agribusiness in the US has gone hand-in-hand with the US foreign policy to deliberately create hunger locally in order to make the world dependent on food supplies, through which you can then control countries and their decision-making ability. So hunger has become an instrument of war.”
    ~ Vandana Shiva, physicist, from video (You Tube), ‘The Future of Food’

    “We put faith in our government to protect us, and we’re not being protected at a most basic level.”
    ~ Barbara Kowalcyk, (son died of ‘hemmorragic e-coli’ hamburger food poisoning)
    Documentary film, ‘Food, Inc.’

  7. The first lady is planting veggie garden in White House, which you can see from the road. to encourage to people to grow fresh veggies… Its too much, to ask people not to grow their food… Fools r writing laws…

  8. Wasn’t this democracy in action? If 51% of the people thought the veggies were ugly, then should they be illegal?

  9. I don’t know who wrote his webster’s dictionary but this is the actual webster’s dictionary definition of Suitable:
    a : adapted to a use or purpose b : satisfying propriety : proper c : able, qualified

  10. JBob – that’s a very valid problem, and one I’ve mentioned many times. Democracy can only work if it’s wielded by a lucid, objective, holistically educated and unselfish majority. I’ve tried to cover this before. A couple of examples:

    If the majority think monoculture lawns and roundup are the way to go, then obviously that’s what happens.

    What are the alternatives? We can have centralisation (in different forms – like corporate feudalism, or totalitarian government, whether communist or capitalist) or we can have anarchy (everyone just does what he wants, and issues are dealt with in courts, and those with the most expensive lawyer win), or we can have rules made by a lucid, sensible majority.

    The problem with anarchy is that justice will often not be done, and if so, it’s after the fact. In many cases justice will never be done – as in the victim(s) is/are dead, or permanently disabled, or the environment that got damaged in the process cannot be restored in our lifetimes, etc. In an anarchistic situation, people will tend to externalise costs, and commit offences, so long as they think they can get away with it. Or, they will calculate the cost of getting caught, measure that against the profits to be made if they don’t, and they’ll take a gamble.

    Take my question about the new anti-fracking regulation in France that I mentioned in another post, which you didn’t answer (“would you have France repeal the law?”) We could say, well, that’s arbitrary government intervention in the dealings of the invisible hand, so the law should be removed (so we can let the magical hand fix everything). But do so, and how many people on the suffering end of the fracking industry will have the financial resources to win against them? Who has the $$’s and the technical ability to travel several thousand feet below ground to really pinpoint what happened (impossible of course); to produce the proof that the industry defence team will certainly demand. When you’re met with well-financed denial, it’s not easy. Look how long the tobacco industry kept it up, and we see the same now with industry-financed climate change denial.

    As such, if a lucid majority decide “we don’t want fracking”, then rather than being an obstacle to freedom, it becomes quite the opposite. The government, working by and for the people save potentially thousands of court cases that will likely end in tears for most, and save the watershed and much more, by nipping the problem right at the bud.

    George’s recent post is another case in point:

    There are quite likely hundreds or even thousands of gardeners around the UK and elsewhere whose plants are curling up and dying, and for most there’s not a damned thing they can do about it. Most won’t understand what the cause is, and those who do will be met with smoke and mirrors.

    If a lucid majority decided a law (dare I say ‘regulation’?) should be put in place to ban the substance, then the issue miraculously disappears.

    But you’re very right. Many times (understatement!) a dumbed down public will push for the wrong things. This is why I feel we must educate, educate, educate. Indeed, permies must turn the mainstream educational systems upside-down if we’re to get anywhere.

    The ideal I speak of (a politically aware and involved citizenry, who are also holistically educated in the basics of life support systems, and more) will likely never occur, unfortunately – but I can’t stop reaching for what I see is the only real situation where people will be both free and yet protected from the freedom of others. Damned if I want to see industry given even more free reign than they do already (I want more GMO regulations, for example, not less), with the little guys getting trampled over even more than he is now, and damned if I want to see a return to communism or a strengthening of the kind of fascism we’re seeing in governments near us right now.

    It’s a dilemma JBob. No question.

    The American forefathers feared that all they’d gained after battling the red-coats and forging the constitution might be unappreciated and lost by subsequent generations. That’s exactly what has happened. We’ve slipped into apathy and ignorance.

    If ‘democracy’ is only about ballot boxes, then it’ll never work. As I’ve said time and time again, people will just vote in the people who promise to fulfil their particular selfish desires.

  11. There really is no solution other than forming a NEW country with a strong constitution, providing for protection of the land as well as individual rights. I’d move.

  12. Most people would support regulation as long as it is in their favor. But before we all cry for more regulations, it is prudent to pause and think. What is the aim for the new proposed regulation? For example, in the case of the ban on fracking, it is to protect people from the pollution and contamination. Similarly, in the case of the Has-Beans, it is also to protect people’s lives from the harmful chemical. Now, how many regulations are needed to protect people and their property? Do we need a regulation for every single chemical or process? How long do we have to wait? How much of these chemicals are already in the air/water/soil before they get banned? There must be a better way, a more efficient process. Well, there is, going back to the original aim of regulations that is to protect people’s lives and property. All the government needs to do is to uphold people’s rights to their lives and property and automatically any violation of these rights would be illegal. There is no need for redundant regulations.

  13. Craig, every part of your description of the problem with anarchy perfectly describes the problems we have today with current systems:

    “…justice will often not be done, and if so, it’s after the fact. In many cases justice will never be done – as in the victim(s) is/are dead, or permanently disabled, or the environment that got damaged in the process cannot be restored in our lifetimes, etc. In an anarchistic situation, people will tend to externalise costs, and commit offences, so long as they think they can get away with it. Or, they will calculate the cost of getting caught, measure that against the profits to be made if they don’t, and they’ll take a gamble.”

    That’s what we have right now. Overall, I think you underestimate the power of one successful court case in setting a precedent that would make all future potential defendants think long and hard about their actions. It doesn’t take “thousands of court cases,” just a couple will change behavior. Who has the $ to get into dozens or hundreds of court cases they’re likely to lose?

    Courts (private, efficient, competitive, non-monopolistic courts – not the current government mess) would achieve much the same ends as we all seek here, but unlike “one size fits all” regulations forced on everyone, courts defending private property rights wouldn’t allow for wealthy and politically connected interested to buy government favor and tailor-made regulations to benefit them at the expense of the rest of us. A property-rights approach also allows more creativity and localized problem solving opportunities, i.e., “do whatever you want to fix your problem as long as all parties agree.”

  14. Appealing to the nation-state for or as a “solution” strikes me as repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result: Insanity.

    Democracy doesn’t strike me as a 51%+ thing. If it is, then that particular brand of democracy strikes me as a mere brand, and one that appears, by this fraction, to suggest its own failure at (attracting) participatory representation.

    Groups, limited to a few people making decisions ‘for the rest’, seems doomed to failure, because each decision, even if 51%+ representative, takes the “democratic synch” more out of synch over time, along the lines of the butterfly (chaos) effect, until you get revolutions, revolts, protests, etc…. and the planet and its systems thrown off a cliff.

    From a communicational standpoint, the internet seems to be the rise of the first global tribe in history and that should be tapped.
    I have an article-in-making about this, and it is a difficult write and thought process. You have to really get that coaxial cable out of the back of your head. ;)

    ‘Permaea: Earth of Hyperdemocracy’

  15. There are a number of steps that need to be taken to successfully reapply the wisdom of the tribe:

    1 ) Individuals must re-establish a sense of deep connection and bondedness to the whole (in this case the planet). This is a process that is both practical and mythic, left brain and right brain – and it is fortunately already occurring. It is especially important that people build direct human connections around the globe. Since the nation-states are today’s bullies, we can not rebuild the peace of the tribe unless we build a global community that stands independent of these nations, as William Ellis argues so well in the Summer 1983 issue of IN CONTEXT. It is also essential that these connections be ‘real,’ based on meaningful ties of economics and common personal interest, and not just a technique for peace.

    2) Our societies need to decentralize to remove crucial pressure points. We need to replace brittle systems of hierarchical power with resilient systems of ‘network semi-dependence.’
    ~ Robert Gilman,

    ‘A low-energy policy allows for a wide choice of lifestyles and cultures. If, on the other hand, a society opts for high energy consumption, its social relations must be dictated by technocracy and will be equally degrading whether labeled capitalist or socialist.’
    ~ Ivan Illich

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Back to top button