By Tammy Sons
More people are growing their own gardens, but lately there has been a disturbing amount of legislation, gardening ordinances and local codes around the country that are not only restricting vegetable gardens, but outright outlawing raising food in various parts of the United States. In places that are prone to droughts, there are restrictions as to when residents can water their lawns and vegetable gardens. Certain homeowners associations do not even allow residents to raise vegetable and fruit gardens on their property. This is not only problematic for gardening enthusiasts, but it takes a certain amount of audacity to tell someone what they can and cannot grow on their own property. Also, there have been local laws restricting and outright banning public, vegetable gardening in communities that desperately need fresh fruits and veggies because their local grocery stores do not carry them. Because more people are raising their own food and not buying fruits and veggies in grocery stores, there has been a variety of gardening ordinances imposed on people who garden and raise their own food.
These rules and gardening ordinances come in a variety of forms; some counties restrict fruit and vegetable gardening because of zoning laws, some homeowners associations ban residents from growing food gardens and local and state legislation placing restrictions on what people sell from their own personal gardens. In recent years, there were proposed, gardening ordinances circulating in the House of Representatives that would reach private residents who grow their own food. Such rules and regulations run contrary to where people had purchased their fruits and veggies in previous decades; mom and pop farms provided fresh fruits and veggies to their local communities at good prices. Because of big agriculture and industrial farming, there has been more emphasis on central gardening where most people get their so called natural fruits and veggies from the grocery store. However, many fruits and veggies that are sold in grocery stores are far from natural; most are sprayed with harmful chemicals and are genetically modified to the point where they are essentially useless when it comes to taste, potency and nutrients.
At a time when more people wish to seek self-sufficiency and independence in growing their own food, there has been a pushback in the form of gardening ordinances that dictate who can garden what. This is not happening all over the country, but there is a disturbing trend of gardening ordinances that are more harsh and strict. Be sure you are familiar with your local laws regarding the raising of vegetable and fruits on your property. If you are not happy with the local laws and restrictions when it comes to gardening then vote with your feet and move out of any area or neighborhood that does not allow you to grow the foods you like on your own property. Write your local representative about gardening ordinances and frame it as a personal freedom issue. If enough people voice their opinions about gardening ordinances then local and state officials will be less likely to impose such measures on residents.