KOTV reports that Denise Morrison grows an edible and medicinal garden of over 100 plant varieties in her front and back yard. Last August, she received a letter from the city reporting a complaint about her yard.
She took photographs of her gardens and went to meet with city inspectors who told her “Everything, everything need to go” when she asked for problem areas to be pointed out.
Upon hearing that all of her garden would have to be destroyed she called the police who issued her a citation so she could appear in court and work it out with the city. At her court hearing on August 15 the judge directed both parties to return to court in October.
The very next day, Morrison found, and photographed, city workers cutting down most of her plants-with what appears to be a bobcat and riding lawnmower- including trees that bore fruits and nuts. It is important to point out here that the city did not have permission to take action against the garden because the judge had put off hearing their case until October.
Everything that Morrison grew could be eaten. At the time the gardener was unemployed and not covered by insurance.She used her garden not only to feed herself, but to treat her diabetes, high-blood pressure and arthritis. According to Morrison, when she explained this to the enforcement officials she was told “we don’t care.” Morrison has filed a civil rights lawsuit arguing that the enforcement officials overstepped their bounds.
If this is sounding familiar to you it’s because gardens like Morrison’s are always coming under attack. Remember the story of Adam Guerrero last year that made national headlines after Colleen blogged about it here at TreeHugger?
I wish Morrison all the luck with her lawsuit because gardens are a civil right.
Self-sufficiency is a fucking crime now?
Oh, big surprise. No one wants someone who can’t afford food to be able to live. So basically, if you’re ever poor and don’t want to rely on their systems, they will make you rely on their systems.
In my town there are now tons of fucking ordinances and shit, you can’t even grow herbs in some neighborhoods.
Its not that self-sufficiency is a crime, its when self-sufficiency doesn’t fit into a specific, racialized and class-based narrative about what your neighborhood must look like. You can bet your sweet bippy (and mine too, for good measure) that this woman’s personal property and her freedom to use it as she needs to was preempted not just because CAPITALISM! but because she is an unemployed woman of color with health problems. If she had been a white, healthy, middle class woman who stayed at home and did these things as a hobby, no one would have cared.