Michigan woman faces jail for growing vegetables in her front yard

July 15 Update: Julie Bass has opened a blog about the ongoing malicious prosecution, which now extends to her dogs, altho they have never gotten loose or threatened anyone. The City dropped the veggies charge, without actually clearing them “of any wrongdoing.” The charges, she says, “have not been settled in a way that gives us any assurance at all of them not coming back the second the media spotlight is off of Oak Park.”

By Daily Mail

A woman who put a vegetable garden in her front yard has been charged with a misdemeanor and could even be facing jail. Julie Bass, of Oak Park, Michigan, created the garden after her front yard was torn up to replace a sewer line.

But a neighbour complained and called the city, who deemed it unsuitable.

Every front yard in the area is grass.

Home-grown: Julie Bass has fallen foul of local authorities by growing vegetables in her front yardHome-grown: Julie Bass has fallen foul of local authorities by growing vegetables in her front yard

Miss Bass’s garden features five large planter boxes containing fresh basil, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers.

The city sent out a code enforcement who gave her a warning. Miss Bass then received a ticket and now she’s been charged with a misdemeanor.

Read more at Daily Mail

36 responses to “Michigan woman faces jail for growing vegetables in her front yard

  1. It’s also “common” and “suitable” to throw out prosecutors who serve Big Ag rather than worrying about real crime …

    let’s hope the voters raise hell

  2. Thank you to this woman for standing her ground!

  3. well, who can we call and email to try and help her? (for this ridiculous, tyrannical load of crap???)

  4. So, the crime rate in Oak Park must be 0% for the city to be concerned with Miss Bass. Now when there is no food in the stores, the city fathers may regret that they did not encourage everyone to grow gardens, but I guess they can eat grass since they are so fond of it. But enough of my sarcasm.
    According to the Holy Bible, we are to be as wise as serpents, but harmless as doves. So is there a way by getting a little creative that Miss Bass could get her garden accepted by the community if she were able to make it blend in more with her neighborhood environment? See what a family in Pasadena, CA were able to do in this regard here: http://tinyurl.com/6jgnue8

  5. Pingback: It’s also illegal to grow your own in Michigan | Notes from Dry Creek Farm

  6. The nut cases hassling Miss Bass should themselves be taken to court for harassment and hopefully thrown in Jail. This is IMO bureaucracy and law enforcement gone crazy. I would like to beat these stupid people about the head with a bunch of organic carrots and beat them over the head with a fully grown zuccini, and finally impale them on a pineapple. Grrrrrr…..

  7. I think its up to the homeowner to grow a garden on their property if they wanted to. They pay taxes on things so why not let them plant a little garden to grow vegetables. We had a garden & when it got to the point where there was way more vegetable then my family can eat we started giving them to neighbors to enjoy & they all were very happy to receive them.

  8. The yard in the photo looks quite tidy and attractive. I don’t see what the problem is.

    This kind of BS from government officials only happens in America. Imagine trying to tell a European, South American or African that they can’t grow food on their own property… Of course, I don’t grow vegetables in the front yard, but that’s because I don’t want anyone helping themselves.

    If I was her, I’d pull up my garden, paint my house purple/pink and park an old jalopy on the curb.

  9. if she plants marigolds and nasturtiums to climb, and be “pretty”
    and replants a green cover not lawn, ie clover? soil improver, maybe the idiot council and moron neighbour that started it would STFU.

  10. I think all the other neighbors should start planting gardens in their front yards, then she wouldn’t be standing out as different. What an utterly stupid thing to be arrested for!

  11. Thank you for posting about this wrongful situation. A best solution for her and everybody is to plant edible landscaping. Food plants can be beautiful and they don’t need to be in square boxes. We have more than enough food to live on in our 1/3 of an acre yard. This is a more recent film clip of what we are doing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsKthoE97gU

  12. So, someone who isn’t hurting anybody is being thrown in jail, huh? Sounds like true “conservative” values at work. If it ain’t a white picket fence, then off to jail with you? Where are the Tea Party “Constitutional” values they bitch about disappearing? Our country was founded on farming and the Constitution was written so that people wouldn’t be faced with prosecution for not hurting other people, so WTF?

  13. It is Not Common for everybody to have a boat on the driveway. So, are they going after boat owners as well?

    What these people in government really Don’t have is: Common Sense! (as usual)

  14. Words fail me. Is this what city government is for?

  15. So, take out a lawn that sucks up water, requires maintenance and does really nothing for anyone…put IN home-grown, organic veggies for your family to eat and you save money AND teach your children a little lesson in self-reliance…and get punished…someone surely has a thorn up their backside to pursue this nonsense. Good for her for not backing down. The judge who even throws a tiny book at her will undoubtedly find himself without a publicly-elected job in the next election.

  16. “Suitable” means “right or appropriate for a particular person, purpose, or situation”…it has nothing to do with “common”…seems to me like this city planner needs a new dictionary.

  17. I love that she’s ready to put up a fight and I give her 100% support! What I think she’s doing with her garden in the front is inspiring and unique. It’s a shame that the city is being such assholes about it but like others have said, it’s about the money.

    I mean they are wasting money by taking this to court so I don’t see how this is financially justified. Time to take this to the streets and when it comes time to vote I say it should be an ugly fight! It’s time for people to stand up for what’s right.

  18. Pingback: Michigan woman faces jail for growing vegetables in her front yard … | How to Grow Vegetables

  19. I would send her money for her defense if she had a website up. The only one committing a crime is the city person. shame on him for being so stupid 😉

  20. Where are the tea party and other conservatives screaming for “smaller government?” Are they backing her? Libertarians? They should be paying for her defense.


    • Carmen Wolf Bennett


  22. Thanks to these morons the word “suitable” is currently the #1 most popular word on Merriam-Webster.com (www.merriam-webster.com/popular-words/index.htm).
    Quite uncommon, isn’t it? But is it unsuitable?

    Oak park, your besuited but unsuitable city officials should be given 100 hours of community work. Tending Julie’s patch.

  23. Carmen Wolf Bennett

    Hey Oak Park: You are disgraceful morons! How about she tears out the veggie garden and replaces it with a Arizona/New Mexico Desert SW lawn full of rocks to xeriscape and save money on water. Now that will NOT be common to you, but it sure is to desert cities. So whats the difference? Go after the people with boats and RV’s in their front yards that sit there taking up space. Who is the idiot that filed the complaint? Shame on the city for making it such a big deal. Now you have gotten your publicity….. ALL NEGATIVE! If I was wealthy, I would NEVER buy any property in your stuffy city. No one in their right mind would feel welcome there after this story! GOOD LUCK MISS BASS!

  24. OK! So perhaps the authorities should clearly define what constitutes a vegetable garden…presumably the growing of edible plants ? So by that toekn, out go the roses (sugared petals, rose-hip jelly, etc); out go the marigolds (a salad addition, a tea), out go the nasturtiums (every part edible!). Bye-bye sunflowers!…and countless other plants! Of course, the lady could grown hundreds of cauliFLOWERS!! There’s no way the local nitwits could oppose those!! Good luck lady!!

  25. My sister had a neighbor who was afraid of her dogs and so ensued a monthly then daily harassment of police calls and small claims courts visits until the neighbor started opening the gates of the fence to let dogs out. It all ended when the dogs were poisoned.

    The judge from small claims said he couldn’t stop the old lady from making small claims against her based on nothing any more than the beat cops could not stop showing up every time she let the dogs out. He suggested she move because once these old biddies found something to do well the drama of it all for $50. They never showed up at court.
    This is harassment and one can only hope the old biddy won’t escalate it.

  26. she should plant Round-up ready poisoned grass?!?

  27. What if she don’t no sun in her back yard?? Is she on a slope? East or west facing? Huh? ya’ll that say just grow the tomatoes in the back don’t know nothing about farming? Huh huh huh girl? How much shade is in her back yard compared to her front huh? How much sun she need to grow them tomatoes eh? gurl let me tell you somethin tomatoes need full sun.

  28. A lot of people seek to live in some sort of planned community where a potential buyer gets “screened” by the Homeowners’ Association. I assume to keep out the riff and the raff.
    Also, if she’s growing organically, what is she using to fertilize her garden? Just some possible factors, But I agree with the majority of your comments

  29. First off. Its your yard, yes your yard; I know it’s hard to believe that you PAY for your yard. If you want to leave a bike laying in your front yard, yes; I said your yard. Then you can leave a bike in your front yard, just bc some bone head does not like to see it (oh it’s hurting my eyes; I’m sure they’d say) they can go to their home & see no bike there. Point blank it’s your yard, put a fence around it if you want, then they can’t see it, but it’s your yard in the end, unless they start to pay your bills for you!

  30. It amazes me that water-guzzling lawns are considered to be more important than healthy food. What messed up priorities.

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