Toronto Changing Ordinance; Will Allow Front Yard Vegetable Gardens

Photo Credit: Ajith_chatie, Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

With all of the bad news we're hearing about overzealous local governments infringing on people's right to garden (from Michigan to British Columbia, and, undoubtedly, several places in between), a bit of good news is welcome.

Last summer, the Oliveira family of Toronto planted a front yard vegetable garden. Their four children loved it, the neighbors admired it, and the Oliveira family enjoyed harvesting home grown food from their yard. The city of Toronto's Traffic Planning Department did not share their enthusiasm.

They issued a letter telling the family they had to remove the garden.

Local newspaper columnists and media picked up on the story. The family received support from all over the world. Letters and phone calls poured into the Traffic Planning department.

And the city saw the light. As of this spring, they're rewriting the city ordinances. Previously, sod was the only acceptable material for the front yard of a residence. The city is now adopting an ordinance which will permit the use of "soft landscaping" -- plants other than grass, including flowers, shrubs, and -- (yes!) vegetables.

A combination of media coverage and the support of people from around the world made the difference for the Oliveira family and their garden. Here's hoping the same is true for other gardeners dealing with overzealous city bureaucrats, intent on maintaining the status quo rather than adapting to a new reality. Growing our own food was once common, and it is becoming more common again. We should have the right to grow food, regardless of what bureaucrats and nosy neighbors think.

(Hat Tip: Thanks to @Vegmers on Twitter for alerting us to this story!)
More About Illegal Gardens:
Front Yard Vegetable Gardens: Different is Good
Michigan Woman Faces 93 Days in Jail for Planting a Garden
British Columbia Man Faces 6 Months in Jail for Growing Food

Tags: Gardening