We posted on Saturday about Memphis teacher Adam Guerrero, who has been ordered by the Shelby County Environmental Court to dismantle his garden, where he works with neighborhood kids growing food, keeping bees, installing solar panels, and vermicomposting. He is due in court on Friday --- the day after tomorrow. We're hoping to get the decision overturned before then, and we need your help.TreeHugger readers have been amazing -- you've emailed, signed petitions, and shared on Facebook. The #WarOnGardens hashtag is all over Twitter. Due in large part to your diligence, the Change.org petition to save Adam's garden has over 5,000 signatures, and we're getting reports that Judge Potter has received tons of email on this. However -- the decision, as of now, still stands.
Time to put on a little more pressure.
Since we posted, several other sites have picked up Adam's story. There was a local news segment about Adam's garden, and we're learning more details. Apparently the order to dismantle the garden stems from an initial complaint by a neighbor who accused Adam of attracting rats to the neighborhood with his vermicomposting bins. Adam and his students have a deal with a local restaurant in which they take the food scraps from the restaurant, then add it to their worm bins in Adam's garden, and use the resulting vermicompost to feed the garden. It's helping a local business, keeping food scraps out of the landfill, and enriching the soil, naturally.
I'll go off on a tangent here: it is beyond ridiculous that when people see rats in a neighborhood, the knee-jerk reaction is to immediately blame the person who is daring to compost food scraps. The fact is that rats prefer grains and meat -- two things that you won't find in most compost bins. They are more attracted to dog feces or dog food left out in a yard, to people throwing bread out to feed the birds, and dozens of other benign actions. Memphis is an urban area. There are rats because there are people there. Let's stop blaming gardeners who compost for rat problems!
Now that that's out of the way -- let's turn up the heat a little. There are several other city officials we can contact, who may be able to sway Judge Potter if enough of us express our displeasure at this situation:
Code Enforcement Office:
- Clarence Coleman, Code Enforcement Manager, City of Memphis: Clarence.Coleman@memphistn.gov
- Bill Morrison, City Councilman, District 1: Bill.Morrison@memphistn.gov
- William Boyd, Councilman, District 2: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Harold Collins, Councilman, District 3: Harold.Collins@memphistn.gov
- Wanda Herbert, Councilwoman, District 4: Wanda.Halbert@memphistn.gov
- Jim Strickland, Councilman, District 5: Jim.Strickland@memphistn.gov
- Edmund Ford Jr., Councilman, District 6: Edmund.Fordjr@memphistn.gov
- Berlin Boyd, Councilman, District 7: Berlin.Boyd@memphistn.gov
- A.C. Wharton, Jr.: Mayor@memphistn.gov
Shelby County Environmental Court:
- Judge Larry Potter: larry.potter@@shelbycountytn.gov
- Phone: (901) 545-3456
If you haven't signed the petition yet, you can find it here on Change.org.
There will also be a protest at the courthouse on Friday to show support for Adam. if you're local, keep an eye on the Save Adam Guerrero's Garden Facebook page for further details on the protest.
Thank you for all you do, TreeHuggers. We're down to the wire here. Please keep spreading the word, and we'll keep you updated!
Update: Memphis' Commercial Appeal printed a great story about Adam and his garden, and provides plenty of background about Adam and his complaining neighbor. Author Felder Rushing stopped by the garden, and offers his opinions both in the article and in the comments. It's a good read.