Courtesy of The WPTV Channel 5 West Palm Beach
Published June 19, 2019
WEST PALM BEACH — In the ongoing Tallahassee versus
municipality fight for power, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has a bill on
his desk awaiting his signature that would ban cities from deciding if its
homeowners can grow their own vegetable garden.
In 2013, a Miami
Shores couple sparred with the village over their
17-year-old home-grown vegetable garden.
Miami Shores threatened to fine them $50 a day. The couple
said it’s their right to grow one. The couple had to
ultimately dig up the garden but now the fruits of their
labor might be paying off six years later.
Ari Bargil is a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, and
he helped defend the Miami Shores couple.
“What we have here is an instance where the State of Florida
has decided to protect the liberty of all people from the
infringement of local governments and that’s generally a
good thing,” he said. “Everybody should have the basic right
to use their property peacefully and productively to provide
for their own basic needs, whether it’s a small vegetable
garden in front of their residence or something else.”
The Florida League of Cities hopes the governor vetoes it.
Anne Gerwig is Mayor of Wellington, which doesn’t
regulate gardens, and is a board member with the League. She’s in Orlando
where they discussed the bill Thursday.
“Our residents ask us for help on these issues that are important to them
and their quality of life, and if we’re preempted by the state, we’re left
to not offer anything but ‘gee, I hope you live in an HOA,’” she said via
Facetime from her hotel. “We oppose it because it’s obviously a preemption
it’s difficult to regulate what’s a vegetable garden as compared to what’s a
dirt patch. At some point how are we going to know the difference? We are
looking for that kind of control to be done locally.”
It would not impact HOA’s.
Kate Ebbs, who lives in West Palm Beach, is torn on the idea.
“My first thought is I hate to see gardens banned because it’s just so great
to grow your own fruits and vegetables but then again I wonder one man’s
garden is another man’s weed patch,” she said.
The governor has two weeks to decide if he will veto the bill.