The Helvenstons have dedicated their lives to sustainable living. Not only does their garden provide them with their own food, but it has become a community attraction where the couple teaches neighbors and local youth about homegrown vegetables. But the city alleges that the Helvenstons are in noncompliance with the city code and demands they uproot their garden and replace it with “lawn”—or face fines of up to $500 per day.
“The greatest freedom you can give someone is the freedom to know they will not go hungry,” said Jason. “Our
Jason and Jennifer’s cause has already received significant national attention, including a feature in the New York Times and an op-ed published today in the The Daily Caller, as well as a broad array of support amongst environmental activists and property rights advocates across the country.
“The Constitution provides protections for people like the Helvenstons who want to use their property in a peaceful, productive manner without arbitrary intrusion by the government,” said Ari Bargil, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, a public interest civil liberties law firm. “The city of
“Our neighbors love our edible garden and even have their own veggies growing in it,” said Jennifer. “So many neighbors tell us amazing stories, whether it is great memories of
The inspiration for the garden came while the Helvenstons were in
When news of the story initially broke in early November, the city appeared inclined to help the Helvenstons navigate the city’s outdated ordinances while still being able to keep their garden. A special “task force” was created to consider amending the law to allow for front yard gardens. But as deadline after deadline was postponed, it has become evident that such tactics have simply allowed the city to delay its enforcement. Despite assurances from the city that the Helvenstons would be able to keep their garden or that the code would be updated to allow for some sort of compromise, there has been no official statement from the city that either will occur.
“We are asking residents across
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