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Michigan Woman May Go to Jail For Her Garden

Michigan Woman Faces 93 Days in Jail For Planting a Vegetable Garden

I'm excited to present a post from one of my favorite sites, TreeHugger!

It just doesn't get more ridiculous than this.

Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan -- a mother of 6, law-abiding citizen, and gardener -- is facing 93 days in jail after being charged with a misdemeanor.

Her crime? Planting a vegetable garden in the front yard.

Bass says that she planted the garden after her front yard was torn up for some sewer repairs. Rather than wasting the opportunity to start with a clean slate by planting a lawn, she decided to really put the area to use, and plant a vegetable garden.

Her garden consists of 5 raised beds, where she grows a mix of squashes, corn, tomatoes, flowers, and other veggies. Bass received a warning from the city telling her to remove the vegetable garden, because it doesn't adhere to city ordinances (more on that later).  When she refused, she was ticketed and charged with a misdemeanor. Her trial, before a jury, is set to begin on July 26th. If she is found guilty, she can be sentenced to up to 93 days in jail.


Continue reading to find out more!

Supposedly, Bass is in noncompliance with a city ordinance that states that only "suitable" plant material is allowed on the lawn area of residences. When local media asked city planner Kevin Rulkowski what that meant, he said suitable means "common": lawn, nice shrubs, and flowers. However, the city ordinance does not specifically state that those are the only allowed plant materials.

Read the rest of the story on Treehugger and watch a video as well. While you're at it, make sure to check out a few more of my favorite posts from Treehugger!

Join The Conversation
smee123 smee123 6 years
Are you completely kidding me. I can understand them saying maybe the boxes could use some aesthetics, But seriously - JAIL? FINE? That's just beyond rediculous. She at least didn't create a farm row situation - she actually put together boxes, to begin to make it look neat. have her put pansies all around the boxes and stain the boxes.. Done.. what a perfectly good waste of tax dollars taking her to court - put her in jail - they'll end up taking her six kids because shes not able to care for them... Can you imagine the long term implications - twits.
kwinke kwinke 6 years
OMG are you freaking serious????? Maybe she should sue the city for Stupidity!!!!
pollywells pollywells 6 years
so stupid i think we have alot more worries than a women planting vegetables in her yard.. Good Lord I thought America was a free country growing your own food is about as free as anything and they can't deal with it... VOTE RON PAUL 2012 he is our only hope
karmicrestitution karmicrestitution 6 years
I'm so sorry - I posted the wrong link for the Julie Bass charges being dropped. The correct link to to the Karmic Restitution blog post is
karmicrestitution karmicrestitution 6 years
After a long fight, all charges were dropped against Julie Bass! See for details.
Wilbert-Jennings Wilbert-Jennings 6 years
With the price of food and the uncertainty of what is in the food and from where it is grown, we will probably see more and more people growing their own and any where they can. We can't water our yards now due to lack of water at least one could water the gardens with grey water from the house.
bumcheek7 bumcheek7 6 years
Unbelievable. I would rather see food growing than a stupid lawn. I bet her kids are healthier than the idiots trying to bring the sister down!
fuzzynormal fuzzynormal 6 years
The bigger question is why the OakPark prosecutor is letting this case go forward. As I understand it, the community has some rather ridiculous people in their municipal government.
Ozymandias Ozymandias 6 years
Clean, neat, tidy, and productive...Oak Park is hardly an ultra upscale neighborhood...get real folks, stop thinking like anal retentive twits and leave the lady alone!
gs20 gs20 6 years
If I were defending this wonderful woman I would file a motion to have the charges dismissed on the the basis of the ambiguity of the the ordinance which was the basis for the charge; if, in fact, that is how it is worded.........however, if it were to actually go to trial, my defense would be to demonstrate those plants that are "not suitable" poppies, marijuana, various hemp plants, cocaine bushes is self evident that cucumbers, tomatoes, corn etc would be deemed "suitable" when compared to those kinds of plant material. It is a shame that she and her family have to go through all this when clearly, she will ultimately be made whole again (hopefully via a lawsuit against the city) when she is vindicated......unfortunately this is just another example of a city government martinet abusing his or her authority and interpreting an ordinance or law "in their own image"........anyone who has ever added a tool shed to their own property knows what I mean.
angrybird angrybird 6 years
They need to check out the front lawn of the White House where a vegetable garden is on display .
Easy-picking Easy-picking 6 years
When I was a kid most people put the garden in the back yard with a fence and a dog. Their going to have share with whoever passes by.
nhenkin nhenkin 6 years
If Mrs. Obama can plant a garden on the White House lawn - every American should be permitted to do the same. Isn't this an equal opportunity country?
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 6 years
You know, it does seem ridiculous, especially when you think about how many people do not get fined for having crap like broken toys in their yard, but then again.. the lady received a notice before being charged. That's more than you get for most misdemeanors, isn't it? If she ignored it, she knew she was breaking the law, so she could have removed the plants and planted them elsewhere.
Elka-Karl Elka-Karl 6 years
I just posted on Facebook about some ways you can keep up with her story (check it out on our Facebook page!). Also, her story has reached major news sources around the world — she'll also be featured on the Colbert Report. It seems as if everyone agrees that this is indeed a ridiculous request by the city!
Talicat Talicat 6 years
It looks like her yard was really plain to begin with so I doubt this is such a terrible change. With a pretty fence, paths and flowers, this could be beautiful, Or boxwood, lavender, a fountain and gravel paths a la france, etc.
lauren lauren 6 years
That is ridiculous! I think her house looks lovely and she is making great use of her space, hopefully the city will rethink this one!
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