Gardener Sues City of Tulsa For Cutting Down Her Edible Garden (UPDATE)

KOTV/Video screen capture

KOTV reports that Denise Morrison grows an edible and medicinal garden of over 100 plant varieties in her front and back yard. Last August, she received a letter from the city reporting a complaint about her yard.

She took photographs of her gardens and went to meet with city inspectors who told her “Everything, everything need to go” when she asked for problem areas to be pointed out.

Upon hearing that all of her garden would have to be destroyed she called the police who issued her a citation so she could appear in court and work it out with the city. At her court hearing on August 15 the judge directed both parties to return to court in October.

KOTV/Video screen capture

The very next day, Morrison found, and photographed, city workers cutting down most of her plants-with what appears to be a bobcat and riding lawnmower- including trees that bore fruits and nuts. It is important to point out here that the city did not have permission to take action against the garden because the judge had put off hearing their case until October.

KOTV/Video screen capture. Before and after pictures showing extent of damage to Morrison's front flower bed.

Watch the KOTV Story and Emotional Interview with Morrison

Everything that Morrison grew could be eaten. At the time the gardener was unemployed and not covered by insurance. She used her garden not only to feed herself, but to treat her diabetes, high-blood pressure and arthritis. According to Morrison, when she explained this to the enforcement officials she was told “we don’t care.” Morrison has filed a civil rights lawsuit arguing that the enforcement officials overstepped their bounds.

If this is sounding familiar to you it's because gardens like Morrison's are always coming under attack. Remember the story of Adam Guerrero last year that made national headlines after Colleen blogged about it here at TreeHugger?

I wish Morrison all the luck with her lawsuit because gardens are a civil right.

Update:
Through my Twitter and Facebook accounts gardeners are asking what they can do to help Denise. I reached out to Lori Fulbright, the reporter to who broke the story, and she informs me via Email that the story is getting a lot of responses and offers for help. If you would like to donate seeds to help Denise regrow her medicinal garden, or would like to donate to her legal fund to help her with the civil rights lawsuit she filed, you can send it to Lori Fulbright who will get it to Denise.

Lori Fulbright
C/O News On 6
302 S. Frankfort
Tulsa, OK 74120

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Tags: Food Security | Fruits & Vegetables | Gardening

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