Michigan Woman Facing Jail Time For Her Vegetable Garden

Michigan Woman Facing Jail Time For Her Vegetable Garden – Poor Richard’s News

A Michigan woman has found herself in court defending an evil, evil, vegetable garden. Julie Bass has ignored Oak Park officials’ warnings and fines and now faces misdemeanor charges for her veggies in the front yard. The city code only states that front yards need to have “suitable live plant material.” According to her blog, Bass is facing up to 93 days of jail time.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

From Fox Detroit:

“I think it’s sad that the City of Oak Park that’s already strapped for cash is paying a lot of money to have a prosecutor bothering us,” Bass told FOX 2’s Alexis Wiley.

“That’s not what we want to see in a front yard,” said Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski.

Why? The city is pointing to a code that says a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material. The big question is what’s “suitable?”

We asked Bass whether she thinks she has suitable, live, plant material in her front yard.

“It’s definitely live. It’s definitely plant. It’s definitely material. We think it’s suitable,” she said.

So, we asked Rulkowski why it’s not suitable.

“If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers,” he said.

I’m sorry Mr. Rulkowski, but Websters does not a legal argument make. Oh, and that definition he’s referencing is not in Webster’s dictionary. The only thing close to it is labeled “obsolete.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

25 thoughts on “Michigan Woman Facing Jail Time For Her Vegetable Garden”

  1. The Oak Park Outlaw

    The scofflaw, Julie Bass,
    Rejected trees and grass,
    And took to life of crime
    With parsley, sage and thyme.

    Her crime is avant garde:
    The beds in her front yard
    Contain illegal greens,
    Like peppers, peas and beans.

    But justice will prevail,
    And Oak Park can exhale,
    Devoid of squash and kale,
    With Julie safe in jail.

  2. This story did not sound right, featuring a jew who does not go to City Hall to talk to officers in charge and find a mutually agreeable solution, a mother of children who is ready to go to jail for three months for such a stupid reason (it’s not like she is e.g. doing some unauthorized sit-in on behalf of Rubashkin or Pollard or Gilad Shalit), an observant jew who goes to court during the three weeks instead of settling, a family that will only eat organic but can’t afford the store price, yet the lady is prepared to have plastic meals in jail for three months and can afford a lawyer for an obviously lost cause. By the way why only the lady is concerned? Is the house in her name only? Interesting arrangement…. would be interesting to see their tax slips and if they have angry creditors somewhere. So, I had a look, and it turns out that these people have only recently converted to urban vegetable growing, because on 5 oct 2010 they had grass like everyone else in the neighbourhood – see Google satellite images; it also turn out that very close to their home, that is three miles away (they have a car which is visible in the photos), there are organic community gardens (price for families: 15$ per year), that even allow vegetable picking for people who do not have a plot!
    Sounds like these people are troublemakers that enjoy giving all Jews a bad name, assuming of course they are jewish after all.

    1. Why are you so stuck on this woman being a jew? Would this whole thing be more acceptable to you if she was atheist? She never believed for a minute that she was going to be sent to jail for this. By the time they actually threatened jail time, she already had so many supporters that there would have been riots for her, and the whole garden thing would have exploded way more then it did. She was teaching her kids a lesson: you do not give into bullies. True jews believe that lessons begin in the home and there you have it. The garden was also meant to be a summer project and learning experience for her children and she wanted to learn how to be self-sufficient; a valuable skill for any woman to have. The lawyer worked pro-bono and there was also a way to give donations for court costs. People believed so much in what she was fighting for that they gave her thousands of dollars. She barely touched any of it, and what she didn’t use, she gave to charities or worthy causes (i.e. Marian McLellan). Both she and her husband owned the property and its just another mystery as to why the city chose to target only her. I can assure you that there were no angry creditors. As to her being a troublemaker…. well if you actually knew Julie, you’d know that causing trouble for her or her family was the last thing on her mind. She has enough troubles of her own and she wouldn’t go searching to add more of them to her plate. By the way, the only people who seemed to have a problem with her being jewish were other jews. She did her best to keep the fact that she was jewish out of the media because she knew that some people would have a problem with it. The only people who confronted her were jews surprisingly enough. You sound like a crazy bitter stalker, if anything, it’s jews like you who give us a bad name. G-d forbid that a fellow jew should stand up for her rights, right? Well, honestly you disgust me. She and her family are frum, shomer shabbos, yiras shomaim, and do their best to avoid people like you who are not dan l’caf z’chus on others.
      Julie’s daughter

  3. Good Luck with your garden Julie, I hope you would win the rights to grow your own vegetables in your own garden!

  4. Just silly. I am a suburban working class guy who has a veggie garden in my front yard. My sump-pump caused run-off during the winter it froze so I decided to put a veggie garden at the angle of my property so that in the winter the box with dirt would absorb it, and the added advantage is that the sump pump feed water in the summer to it.
    Leave her alone.

  5. These so called “City Fathers” need to get a life.Must be pretty boring to tour the town ,looking for some veggie plots in the “wrong place” WOW .Since when can’t you plant a veggie garden in the front yard instead of the back?Maybe there’s more sun there.?It’s my yard and I’ll plant a veggie garden if I WANT!!!!!

  6. what ever happened to the peaceful enjoyment of one’s property rule. Leave the lady alone OAK PArk. She is doing something worthwhile with her yard and should be left alone to do whatever she likes. She isn’t causing an eyesore or vreating bad feelings in the neighborhood. Leave her alone . Obviously the council of Oak PArk does not hav enough to do that they pick on a lady who wants to grow veggies contamination free for her family. Holy cow isn’t there something else they could find to complain about. Aren’t there some real violations they could go after? Stand your ground Julie fight for the fruits of your labor. Sheesh there is too much government even at the city council leve. Leave people alone and mind yer own business Oak Park.

  7. this is an example of big brother. We are free and should be free to grow fruits and vegetables if we please. I personally build a three layer stand were I grow flowers, this after my land lord told me that I was not allowed to use the wall. There are always ways to work with the system.

  8. keep your garden it your place not the state or city land so they shond care what u do with your land good luck

  9. Why should she have to drive 3 miles and pay $15 a year for the privilege of picking vegetables from the community crop if she can grow her own? In a time when supermarket vegetables are spawned from deadly chemicals and genetically modified, and the First Lady of Washington is highly publicized in her vegetable and herb garden endeavors, and childhood and adult obesity is skyrocketing because people don’t eat enough fresh vegetables, why is this lady being sabotaged? Will the city next ban apple trees growing in the front yard? Here in Florida, Avocados grow on bushes in the front yard like weeds. People come by and pick what they need, believe it or not. What about Black Olive trees that line neighborhood streets? Are they contraband, too? And what about folks who have a license to grow medical marijuana? Since when are vegetables visually inappropriate like having a toilet in the front yard, or going to the supermarket in your pajamas? I have seen yards with the “common” trees and so called grass, overgrown, weed filled, bald and burned and disgusting looking. Earlier this year, our code enforcement went around giving residents a warning notice for those of us who have basketball hoop stands in our driveways! Some were even cemented in the ground over a period of 17 years! Residents stood their ground, refused to remove the hoops, and it was never brought up again. This lady ought to get the makers of V-8 over to her house to publicize this outrage against her. Yet another example of taxpaid city clowns gone wrong.

  10. Every house should have a GARDEN in front of the house. It CAN be a vegetable garden too. It blooms and fruits ! A vegetable garden is more colorful, diverse and practical. It protects the environment more than the lawns. Lawns are artificial and it is not a bio-diversity vegetation.

    It is not sensible for any law to punish a person for having a vegetable garden instead of a lawn. Law should also be sensible instead of looking at the dictionary for the meaning of every word. Oh “Michigan lady” ! Fight for justice ! Create a precedence ! Let the law use the sense !

  11. i grew up in oak park and left in 1969 for sunny california. hope the city rethinks this matter. the benefits of growing a garden over wasteful sod is a no brainer. do i really have to discuss the current problems facing all citizens today like: water shortage, health issues, the economy.????

    i understand the city wants to maintain a reasonable sense of aesthetics…. perhaps guidelines are in order for a front yard garden…… lets not get crazy though….go easy with your power and authority.

    and you citizens of oak park, unite. let your voices be heard. your local rebel rouser needs your support now.

    good luck madam jailbird ….stay strong… stay committed to a worthwhile cause

    your new friend; carol

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s