Slow News Follow-Up: Berkeley Attempts to Squash Home Garden

No sooner had I posted about the spate of modern homesteaders who are reclaiming their front yards for real growing and community-enhancing spaces than I received a link from my good friend Judd Williams to this piece by Chris Carlsson of the superb SFStreetsblog. It’s about a town that’s attempting to squash a successful long-time front-yard vegetable garden, in favor of something more, say, ornamental and wasteful, like a lawn.

Are you sitting down? This isn’t some planned, gated, sterile community that’s refusing to let its citizens grow a little food in the space where the traditional suburban lawn might go. It’s Berkeley, CA, of all places, bearing down on a gentle Green Thumb who, like many in the enviably sunny, green town, is attempting to produce something of value on his land.

One of the many citations the gardener/homeowner, Asa Dodsworth, has received is for “Unpermitted Garden Beds,” which carries a five hundred dollar a day fine. That’s right — Growing food in the front yard is outlawed.

I, frankly, don’t get it, especially after seeing the pictures of Dodsworth’s mellow, unassuming garden. If this seems wrong to you, too, Chris’ piece provides a lot more information about the situation and which decision makers to write to try to rectify it.

lougarden1

Photo by Susan Sachs Lipman

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