Health Impact News

by Institute for Justice

May the government prohibit you from peacefully and productively using your own property to feed your family?

For 17 years, Hermine Ricketts and her husband Tom Carroll used their front yard to grow food for their own personal consumption.  And for 17 years, nobody had a problem with it . . . until now.  In May 2013, Miami Shores Village, Fla. amended its ordinance to make clear that front-yard vegetable gardens were prohibited.  Only vegetables are explicitly banned—trees, fruit and garden gnomes are just fine.

A few days later, the Village’s code enforcement department served Hermine and Tom with a notice informing them they were in violation of the front-yard vegetable ban.  The department threatened them with fines of $50 per day if they did not destroy their beautiful garden.  Unable to bear the cost of such hefty fines, Hermine and Tom had no option but to surrender to the government’s demands and uproot the garden.

The battle, however, is far from over.  Hermine and Tom are part of a nationwide movement of small-scale food producers and consumers who are tired of the government dictating what foods they can grow, sell, and eat.  On November 19, 2013, they joined with the Institute for Justice to challenge Miami Shores’ senseless front-yard vegetable garden ban.  Their case aims to vindicate the right of all Americans to peacefully use their own property to support their own families.


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