Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal dealt a major blow to property rights when it upheld the Village of Miami Shores’ ban on front-yard vegetable gardens. This means homeowners Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll—and others like them—are still banned from growing a front yard garden to provide food for themselves. Hermine and Tom are represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ), which first challenged the ban in November 2013.
“Today’s decision gives local government the power to flatly ban homeowners from growing plants in their front yards simply because they intend to eat them,” explains IJ Attorney Ari Bargil, who argued in court on behalf of Hermine and Tom. “The decision authorizes government to criminalize something people have freely done for centuries—grow food to feed themselves.”
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In March 2013, Miami Shores adopted a zoning ordinance banning front-yard vegetable gardens. Only vegetables are banned—trees, fruit and garden gnomes are fine. And despite its purported aesthetics-based justification, the ban applies to attractive and unattractive gardens alike. The ban immediately impacted Hermine and Tom, a married couple who had used their front-yard garden to grow vegetables and other plants for 17 years. Miami Shores told Hermine and Tom to destroy their garden or face fines of $50 per day. Unable to bear the cost of the fines, they dug up their garden.
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