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Miami Shores Village, Florida

Southern US vegetable gardens outlawed

The town of Miami Shores Village, Florida, abruptly amended its zoning ordinance, banning vegetable gardens from residential front yards. Fruit, bushes, trees, plastic flamingos, garden gnomes and many more things are allowed. But not vegetables.

A local couple wants to retain the right to raise a few vegetables for their dinner table, just as they’ve done for nearly two decades. Recently they had to tear up the garden from which they had produced veggies for their own consumption for some 17 years.

Institute for Justice lawyer, Timothy Snowball, pointed out that “growing food on your own land to provide for your family strikes at the very heart of individualism, independence and self-sufficiency.”

The couple started a lawsuit, arguing that the new zoning ordinance change was an unconstitutional deprivation of their inalienable rights to “acquire, possess and protect property”. But judges all the way up the Florida court system sided with the city. was given this viewpoint: “The message from the Florida courts is clear: The purpose of private property is to be decorative, not productive, and it’s government that gets to decide how you decorate it. That is a perverse view of property rights.”

Institute for Justice officials, however, said the Florida Legislature now is taking action, with a bill -SB 1776- addressing “vegetable gardens” already on the calendar.

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