New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
Random header image... Refresh for more!

City of Orlando, Florida says ‘Garden Has to Go’


Jason and Jennifer Helvenston of College Park, Orlando, Florida have been ordered by local officials to remove their front yard vegetable garden at a time when Orlando wants to become one of greenest urban centers in the country.

City orders man to dig up vegetable garden

By WESH.com
11/12/2012

The city of Orlando has ordered a College Park man to get rid of the vegetable garden in his front yard, calling it a code violation.
Jason Helvenston said he never dreamed his garden would get him in trouble, and he is refusing to get rid of it.

He said the garden saves his household hundreds of dollars in groceries, and it’s a source of pride.

The city left a notice on Helvenston’s door saying the garden showed “failure to maintain ground covers.” The notice said to dig up the garden by Nov. 7 or actions would be taken.

Helvenston said he thought the notice was a joke at first.

Now, he’s trying to get clarification on what exactly “ground cover” is.

“It is hard times. We need good healthy vegetables, and this is how we are doing it, and there shouldn’t be anything illegal about it,” Helvenston said.

A friend’s Facebook campaign got Helvenston’s fight featured on treehugger.com, and he has a petition drive going.

“I think the government has a lot better things to do than wasting time with my vegetable garden,” he said.

The city has canceled a scheduled hearing about his garden, and it has now assigned a task force to figure it out.

Jason has been ordered to report before the Orlando Code Enforcement Board in December and has begun collecting petition signature locally. We are calling on gardeners in other parts of the world to help Jason deliver a strong message that food gardens – both in front of homes and in back – are part of Orlando’s and other cities’ pathway to a healthy, green future.

Link to petition to help the gardeners.