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front yard farming (Re:VEGETABLES IN THE FRONT YARD?)

  • Subject: [cg] front yard farming (Re:VEGETABLES IN THE FRONT YARD?)
  • From: Don Boekelheide <dboekelheide@yahoo.com>
  • Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 20:05:48 -0700 (PDT)

Hi, Bill,

Thanks for the story. The happy ending is that, as of
May 1, second grade teacher and heroic gardener Karen
Baumann is being allowed to keep her garden, according
to Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Vierria . Here's the
story link:


I commend you all for working to change city policy on
this issue.

If we don't watch out, we'll all end up Tom Payne
radical conservatives, 'that government that governs
least governs best' - something Jefferson and Thoreau
also said.

My guess is that current city policy dates from more
recently than we might think. The rise of in-your-face
landscaping rules is relatively recent, as is the
'modern' suburban lawn/tracthouse landscape. We are,
as a culture, increasingly losing touch with the land
as an irreplaceable source of food, sustainance and
meaning. Sadly, our policy decisions often demonstrate
our alienation and ignorance.

I have a front yard veggie garden, with some dwarfed
fruit trees, for similar reasons to Ms. Baumann's. My
backyard is mostly a shady creek that I'm slowly
restoring to a 'native plant' ecosystem (whole other
set of topics, there...). I'm lucky enough to live in
a tolerant neighborhood near the university, and over
time more and more folks up and down my street are
catching the bug, and starting to grow tomatoes out
front, shrink their lawns (chemically dependent and
irrigated 'manicured' turf imposes horrific
environmental costs, however much we love our lawns),
and introduce natural mulched areas under trees.

I agree we need community gardens and greening, even
if we grow food at home. Three key reasons: People
don't have anywhere to meet anymore, and a community
garden can provide that. Yards are great, but
community gardens and greens transform the landscape
and viewscape on a larger scale, to the benefit of the
whole community. And sharing space (and labor and
decisions) is very healthy medicine in a culture that
worships self and stuff. Besides, at least for me, it
is easier to just grow a big ol' plot of okra and corn
out at the community garden than do all the 'edible
design' stuff I feel I should do in my yard.

So, good luck from a transplanted Californian who is a
proud front yard farmer in the South - and who doesn't
get hassled about it. Though my neighbors have been
heard to call it 'that California yard'...better not
tell them I might get fined in Sacramento!

Don Boekeheide
Charlotte, NC 

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