Another garden under attack

Criminalizing gardens.

Adam Guerrero's front yard garden
Does this look like a nuisance to you? (photo from the Memphis Flyer)
Really, what’s going on? Earlier this year, former Michigan resident Julie Bass faced an attack by officials in her town of Oak Park because she dared to plant vegetable gardens in her front yard. In a broad rant against lawns I told her story and questioned how a garden could be considered a nuisance or unsightly.

Sadly, it’s happened again – this time in Memphis, Tennessee. Adam Guerrero, a math teacher at Raleigh Egypt High School, set up a garden on his own property. With the help of his students, but entirely on his own time and at at his own expense, he grows vegetables, raises bees, and teaches sustainability. This remarkable teacher has been told by the Memphis City Code Enforcement and Judge Larry Potter that he needs to get rid of the garden, rain water collection barrels, and other items because neighbors have complained about the unsightly garden.

Just like in Julie Bass’ case, people are complaining because it doesn’t meet their narrow-minded idea of what a yard should look like, by those who believe useless St. Augustine grass should be prized over land use that generates food and teaches life-sustaining skills to the youth of the community.

In Julie’s case, they were able to get the city of Oak Park to reverse their decision, though Julie and her family ended up leaving the state and starting up a new life in a community that (hopefully) isn’t anti-garden. With enough outrage from people around the country, perhaps Adam will also be able to keep his garden.

In the meantime, we really need to ask ourselves why there is so much outcry against gardens, and why municipalities are so willing to crack down on these efforts. I’d love to here what you think.

Want to help fight this latest insanity?

Follow the official blog Save Adam Guerrero’s Garden

Download the flyer (google docs)

Join the movement on Facebook


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