Neighborhood Food Fascism and What You Can Do About It

I received this link from both Natural News and my outraged mom, and I thought I’d share what I wrote to her, plus a couple additions. Here’s the original outrageous story: “Watch out: Florida residents being fined for growing vegetables on their own property.”

My response to my mom:

That is why we are purposely avoiding HOA’s when looking for a place, and also insisting it has a sunny backyard. I will grow edibles up front, but they will be stealth, like fruit trees and edible flowers and herbs.

In Goshen, I fought very hard to have it included in our City Plan from 2014-2024 to encourage front yard gardens instead of lawns and to protect the rights of people trying to live off-grid. Florida and California are the worst in terms of code enforcement. They have forced people back onto the electric and water grid even if they are self sufficient. There is a war going on against self-sufficiency. You really need to do it in a stealth way. Despite that being the most sustainable way of living, the “sustainability” movement has been co-opted by mega corporations and masquerades around towns and cities posing as a good idea.

It was a huge project of mine for Goshen (rather thankless, but I succeeded) in 2014 to protect the city from what I saw coming down the pipeline. Countless hours of meetings under fluorescent lights, emails, prayer, chanting, energy work, behind the scenes conversations, making a stink to enough people and finally painting a magical portal door did the trick. Our plan is very unusual, and it turns out we influenced the national level, because I befriended someone giving a speech there, and she used most of my ideas in her speech. Other city planners liked what she said, so this top-down movement got a bottom-up shakeup.

Additional thoughts:

Sometimes, this is what it takes. We can model change in many ways — both in our yards and in using our informed abilities to influence the system in peaceful, creative, yet very firm ways. I would not take “no” for an answer on this thinly veiled Agenda 21 scheme, and when no one believed me, I just went subterranean and let the portal door do the trick. It worked.

If you decide you’d like to plant a front yard veggie garden, I highly recommend the following resources, since a beautiful garden with ornamental edibles often gets overlooked as a veggie garden in the first place. Don’t become an eyesore, and you’ll likely avoid getting onto the grouchy neighbor radar in the first place … but it IS worth keeping tabs on local legislation or codes, because that’s how they take away the basic human right to grow and harvest our own food, free of chemical additives, GMO’s, excessive transport, pesticides and depleted soil. Anyway, some resources, including on this blog:

Foodscaping: Practical and Innovative Ways to Create an Edible Landscape

Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn’t Know You Could Eat

The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition

The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban and Town Resilience

I have not read “Permaculture City” yet, but it is on my list and seems like essential reading for people who don’t happen to live in a Transition Town where these sorts of discussions already occur. Since neighbors and voting citizens can end up influencing discussions and codes, it helps to know what’s possible and to get a vocal group on board.

I have written a ton on gardening; however, here are some links to address various other challenges with growing your own food:

Troubleshooting in the Garden: Some Tips

Why You’ll Want a Garden This Year

Corbett Report ~ Solutions: Guerrilla Gardening

Growing Your Own Food is a Powerful Metaphor for Your Life

Sarah Anne Lawless ~ Rewilding Realities in Small Towns

The Druid’s Garden ~ Soil Regeneration and Land Reclamation: Creating a Sheet Mulch Bed from Seedy Garden Weeds

The Druid’s Garden ~ Lawn Regeneration: Return to Nature’s Harvest Permaculture Farm

This last link shares an inspiring story of how a front yard permaculture farm built tremendous community, generated healing, and provided huge amounts of food. Ideally, we can each model such possibilities in our own locations, in our own ways. Healthy soil = healthy plants, so begin there. Healthy plants always look a lot better than sick ones, and beauty feeds the soul, as well as the body. That book “Foodscaping” includes an extensive list of vegetable varieties that look so beautiful most non-gardeners would not know they were food. Stealth edibles and abundant food can change the world, one yard, patio or deck at a time.

Big blessings!

4 responses to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Reiki Dawn and commented:
    Good info from Laura Bruno. Just started to read but want to get it out there

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Posted by Mitch on September 6, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Great article Laura! Just found this fantastic recent video by Toby Hemenway presenting his book The Permaculture City in slideshow format at a permaculture conference Super inspiring to see what’s going around the US, particularly what passionate people are doing in chronic ‘food desert’ area’s like Oakland, CA.

    Liked by 1 person


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