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6-Year Fight Over a Vegetable Garden Has Ended

Florida couple replants garden to celebrate victory
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2019 6:32 PM CDT
Homeowners Hermine Ricketts, right, and Tom Carroll chat as they speak to members of the media, Monday, July 1, 2019, in Miami Shores, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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(Newser) – For six years, a Miami Shores couple fought a battle with the village over their front yard. Now, the battle is over, and Hermine Ricketts and husband Tom Carroll won, CBS Miami reports. They had been growing vegetables in their front yard for more than two decades, per the Miami Herald, when they were told in 2013 by code enforcement officers that Miami Shores bans such a practice. They dug up the garden, and have been fighting the law ever since. First, the Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit on their behalf, arguing the ban on front yard gardens is an unconstitutional violation of property rights, but a court ruled in favor of the village, an appeals court upheld the ruling, and the state Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Then their attorney decided to take a different route.

They went to the state legislature, and this year, a bill passed both chambers, was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, and took effect July 1. It states that any local ordinance that expressly limits or prohibits growing vegetables on a person's property is "void and unenforceable." To celebrate the law taking effect Monday, the couple replanted their vegetable garden, which can't grow in the backyard due to insufficient sunlight. "I’ve spent a lot of time in the hospital just health issues because I couldn’t be in my garden touching the soil and interacting with nature, a garden is a healing healthy place," Ricketts says. As neighbors, friends, and allies from the Institute for Justice watched her husband wheeling her into the garden, she noted, "The sun feels good." (Read about a similar Florida battle involving lawn care.)

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