Michigan Woman Could Get 93 Days in Jail for Planting a Garden

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Michelle Obama lives in arguably the most prestigious home in America. In 2009, she dug up a portion of the South Lawn and installed an organic vegetable garden to provide fresh produce for the White House kitchen. Short of the chemical companies who produce pesticides – definitely not allowed in an organic garden – who could complain about such a plan? It’s a great example of sourcing foods locally and Washington DC school children have had the chance to dig in the dirt, learning just where their food comes from.

It’s a good thing the White House isn’t located in Oak Park, Michigan.

The Bass family’s front yard vegetable garden.

When the Bass family had to tear into their lawn to repair a sewer line, instead of replacing the grass they decided to plant a vegetable garden. Oak Park city officials were not impressed with the family’s idea and asked them to move the garden to the backyard.

“Five beds, six yards of compost, about 90 plants – but most important of all, on principle — no!!!!” says Julie Bass.

Short of a little container gardening, this is the first time the Bass family has grown a garden. But instead of focusing their efforts on developing new gardening skills and harvesting the fruits of their labor, Julie Bass, a mother of six, finds herself facing a court battle and possibly jail time.

Over a vegetable garden.

The family would love to raise chickens for fresh eggs, have a goat for milking, and generate electricity with a windmill. They haven’t done so because those activities are not allowed in Oak Park. Vegetable gardening, however, is not explicitly against city codes. So what’s the problem? City code requires that front yard landscapes have “suitable, live plant material.” Well, since the plants in the Bass front yard are not made of silk or plastic, it appears that the battle is over what’s “suitable.”

Is a green lawn maintained with chemical pesticides and fertilizers and trimmed with a gasoline-powered mower suitable? Not in my book.  I think it’s entirely UNsuitable to expose our communities to the dangers of poisons on a daily basis just to maintain conformity.

“If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common*. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers,” says Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski in an interview on WJBK Fox News in Detroit.

Following that line of thought, would the front yard vegetable garden become suitable if the majority of households in the Bass’ Oak Park neighborhood tore out their lawns and planted vegetable gardens of their own? Vegetable gardens would then be common, and by your reasoning, thus, “suitable.”

“That’s not what we want to see in a front yard,” says Rulkowski about the Bass’ veggies.

Beg pardon, Mr. Rulkowski, but who are you to say what is and isn’t desirable – or suitable – in a front yard? Determining what passes for “suitable” landscape is purely subjective. Your opinion surely differs from that of the Bass family and many of their neighbors.

Is a statue of St. Anthony suitable? Or what about topiary? Where exactly is the line – and who draws it?

You know what I think is suitable and desirable? This:

organic, vegetables, edible landscaping, Oak Park, front yard, Bass,
Photo: Rosalind Creasy, used with permission
organic, vegetables, edible landscaping, Oak Park, front yard, Bass,
Photo: Rosalind Creasy, used with permission
organic, vegetables, edible landscaping, Oak Park, front yard, Bass,
Photo: Rosalind Creasy, used with permission

Isn’t it gorgeous? These photos are from Rosalind Creasy, author of Edible Landscaping. Ms. Creasy has done an amazing job of combining vegetables and flowers for an aesthetically pleasing landscape. In other words, it’s a very suitable landscape – that happens to produce vegetables. I can’t imagine that Mr. Rulkowski would have any quibbles with a lush front yard like this, vegetables or no. Certainly the Bass’ immature garden isn’t quite as lush as Ms. Creasy’s mature landscape, but with a little TLC (and a lot less BS, if you don’t mind my saying) the potential for a gorgeous, produce-bearing garden is great.

The Bass family is doing something different, certainly, than most folks in their neighborhood – but why in the world would the City of Oak Park spend any of its budget fighting a battle against people who have simply opted for a different type of landscape? One that provides sustenance for household members, in the form of food and companionship from the neighbors who stop by to visit the garden? Does Oak Park not have any actual criminals?

Instead of condemning this family, Oak Park would do well to use them as an example of how residents can build a sense of community through growing food.

“I think this has been a great experience for the neighborhood kids- lots of them come over any time we do anything outside,” says Julie. “They were here to help shovel the dirt, and dig the holes for the seeds, and water the new plants. They love to come over and sit and hang out on the swing, and [a] neighbors’ son actually gives garden tours to people who want to know what specific plants are- it’s too cute!”

The City of Oak Park is charging Julie Bass with a misdemeanor that could carry a 93 day jail sentence. Julie is blogging about the experience of being on the wrong end of the city planner’s office and the right side of common sense, here.

*The definition of “suitable” in Merriam-Webster (both online and in my old tattered print copy) does not include the word “common.”

GeekMoms, what do you think? Is the City of Oak Park out of line? Or should the Bass family move the garden to the backyard?


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77 thoughts on “Michigan Woman Could Get 93 Days in Jail for Planting a Garden

  1. They are way out of line. In the picture it looks like the majority of their sun hits the front yard. They should try to grow there as it makes the most sense.

    So much for “land of the free.”


    1. If one of my neighbors planted such a garden I would applaud them. Now the woman who lives 4 doors down and mows her lawn 3-4 times a year, has rose plants hanging out over the sidewalk, sticks and limbs all over the yard and an old refrigerator sitting out in front of her garage is someone who certainly could use a visit from the City.

  2. Most ridiculous thing ever. In my Florida rental we can’t dig up the massive yard to plant a garden but you’d better believe if we owned the home I’d be reducing the amount of grass by at least half! Our back patio is covered with containers of veggies at least!

      1. I think they are way out of line and the family shouldnt have to put in raised plant beds if that is what they want and they own the house who is the city to tell them what their front or back yard is to look like. You should see some of the houses in my state thoes are the ones they should come down on I wouldnt mind having someone put their garden in their front yard. Your land your choice is the bottom line.

    1. Patricia… try writing a letter to the owner through the agent asking permission to pull up a small amount of lawn to put in a veggie garden. Promise to make good (ie replace lawn) at the end of your lease agreement. I did that and they owners had no problem. In the end I left behind raised beds in good condition, well mulched and presented – which the next tennants used for a veggie garden.


  3. This is absolutely outrageous! I hope that they continue to fight and win. The City Planner should be out of a job for pursuing this and wasting taxpayer money!

    1. I say fight it , they are wrong on so many counts. Your yard looks great and is neat and clean. I am e-mailing your adversary and telling him to back off and let you live.
      Good luck I bet there is a lawyer out there who would take this case FREE.

    1. Why does someone always have to attack an entire country (or race, etc) over the actions of a small minority? Making the “only in America” comment shows a complete lack of class. Yes, this is ridiculous. Assinine. But it is not definitive of an entire country. And tell me there aren’t european neighborhoods that don’t have issues. Really? I live in America and in a restricted neighborhood, and I STILL grow veggies (spinach, peppers, eggplants) and herbs in my front yard. Let’s stay on topic – this poor MI woman and her family who are contending with idiots.

    2. “Only in America Stupid Yanks” The same men and women who pulled Europes collective butts out of the fire twice. The same people who forgave the war debt of europe and the same people who always give to countries when in need without being asked. Now if you those who live north of the Mason-Dixon line we’re the same ones who had the underground railroad! Either way if you cant say something nice be quiet.

      1. I believe your the only one saying something stupid and also racist so why dont you take your own advice and be quiet this has nothing to do with race.

    3. Interesting how a blog about a veggie garden in the front yard starts discussions about Europe vs USA and war and such. Please stick with the topic!

      As for the topic: I hope the Bass familiy can keep their little veggie garden. It’s adorable that they do such a thing. I find it much better looking then the dull and confom frontyards of these kind of communities.
      I live in Europe (Germany) and in many new residential areas one can see the same dull and conform look all over. Very modern are so called stone gardens now. They put granite stones in their frontyard and have some designer bush in it. Something like this: http://www.rennhard-gartenbau.ch/natursteingarten.html or that: http://www.gartenbau-moers.de/bilder/10vorgarten.jpg
      Unfortunately there is no room for insects or birds anymore.
      So let there be tomatoes and salad and flowers in the frontyards! It’s so much better then lawn or granite stones!


  4. I live in an urban environment in Oregon. The planners here say having one or two bee hives is maintaining an apiary and not permissible under “agricultural” uses for a residential lot. Here you could garden your whole property but not have bees to help polinate.

    1. i would be very upset if my neighbor decided to intentionally put multiple beehives in a residential yard, i myself am deathly allergic to bees, as are 4/6 of my family members. they would be based on your property but living next door to it would cause a huge health risk so there is a reason these need to be zoned into proper areas

      1. Regarding beehives and sting risk — no, not really. We kept bees when I was a kid, we kept bees last year here (they did not survive the winter). Unless you are within a few feet of the hive, they will leave you alone. If they are gathering pollen or nectar, they will leave you alone, unless you step on them or grab them, and they will fly far from their hive in search of food. If they are swarming from the hive, you can pick up handfuls of bees and not be stung (I have done this).

        So, I am sure it is scary to worry about bee stings, but rationally, there’s no risk.

      2. My landlord has about 6 beehives in the backyard, about 20 feet away from the entry door (I live in the same house as my landlord). There is absolutely no risk for being stung. As long as one does not stand right in fron of a hive you are safe. Bees are never aggressive and they are actually everywhere where there are blooming plants. So if you have a garden with flowers, you also have bees.

    2. Another stupid law! Bees are in decline everywhere, the more people that try to keep a couple beehives the better. If bees disappear, so will we because we relie on them for more than 80% of our pollinated food crops. What knuckleheads!

  5. The city it out of line in so many ways, I don’t even know where to begin.

    Bureaucats… sheesh – go find something USEFUL to do – like this family has done!

  6. The sad truth is that Supreme Court Court decisions dating back to the 1950’s – Berman v Parker, for example – give local governments the authority to regulate the aesthetic and spiritual qualities of private property. That authority is absolute and there has never been a Constitutional challenge on the proper grounds.

    From my experience, professional architects and planners are part of the problem, not the solution.

    1. It’s always a problem when the government defines what is aesthetic and what not. Who makes them the guardians of good taste?

  7. In the dictionary, the OBSOLETE definition of suitable is “similar; matching”. The city planner should be told that his justification, being based on an obsolete notion, renders his opinion meaningless.

    The city planner strikes me as the type of adult who probably still refuses to eat his vegetables. I’ve never met a person who cooked their own fresh vegetables (store-bought or not) who couldn’t appreciate what a home garden offers, whether they wanted a garden themselves or not.

  8. The typical urban landscape is not much better than a wasteland with its seas of grass. How unaesthetically pleasing. The city is just plain wrong IMO, and I hope she fights this as far as possible. I myself dug up my entire front yard and have nothing but flowers and herbs there, as well as beds on one side of the house and in the backyard. One of the good things about living in a small town in the country. As long as your not growing noxious weeds by leaving things unkempt you can grow whatever you like, wherever you like on your own property. The pictures above are certainly what I find pleasing and acceptable to look at! I might add that every person who comes by my yard when I’m outside stops and comments about how beautiful my garden is.

  9. In my opinion, the city is completely out of line, and the city planner seems to have nothing else to do with his time.

    Your photos of the edible garden gave me an idea, though — what if the residents of the community came together and created an edible garden landscape like what you show in the photos? I’ll bet there would be a landscape architect who would LOVE that project! It would meet the city planner’s desire for bushes and trees (perhaps some blueberry bushes, and a fruit tree!)… It sounds like the neighborhood enjoys the garden – they’d likely pitch in to help with the replanting! Is there any way geekmom readers could pitch in and help with that kind of project (i.e., raising donations to help with cost?)?

  10. How wonderful of this Mother of 6 to take time to do this for her children and teach her children and other children to live a better life with better veggies and sustainability!!!!

  11. Has anyone started a fund to help her with legal costs to defend her right to grow and landscape as she pleases? If not, someone should. I’ll donate. This is beyond ridiculous! If people don’t start defending lines which have been crossed and stopping this kind of thing, they will just keep on crossing the line at any whim.

  12. How silly. Front yard veggie gardens are quite common in Seattle. As are chickens, although goats, sheep, cattle, and horses are not permitted. Our lots are very small. Strangely, alpacas were left off the list, so they’re legal. There’s a couple of yard cleaning goat herds for rent, too. The city is being stupid.

  13. Her raised beds are really pretty ugly. Couldn’t she just re-form the raised beds into large decorative ground-level beds that include flowers and vegetables, surrounded by border grass. They would look less harsh and still produce vegetables. There _is_ something to be said for having your property match the neighborhood.

    1. Er … no there isn’t! Conformity is drab, sterile and uninspiring. Breaking the mould creates differences which can lead to improvement.

      New gardens always look a little – mediocre, when thet start, but given six months, it will be lush and magnificent. Nature doesn’t work in an instant – it takes stupidity – as exercised by the rigid beurocrats to demand instant gratification.

    2. Yep, there’s something to be said … it’s “Yawn!”

      Those raised beds are beautiful, by the way. For my money, lawn grass is barely better than a weed. We have some for the play area of the yard, but other than that I want the garden beds. About 120 square feet this year, and I plan to almost double it next year.

      This is stupid.

    3. The benefit of raised beds is that you can get a way larger yield from a small space. A 100′ row will yield about 300lbs of carrots but it takes up 300sqft of space( to figure in the paths) where a 4×6 raised bed will yield the same because you can plant the seeds closer and don’t have to figure in space for soil compaction. She is absolutely on the right path.

  14. I have a neighbor that did this, it looks terrible. Personally, I planted some jalapenos mixed in with my lantanas, along with some rosemary bushes, and lavender. I think you can incorporate some vegetables and herbs within a flower garden, now the lush photo above would cost a party penny, but flats of marigolds and zinnia are affordable and flower all summer, rosemary as a bush is expensive but is useable, fragrant and would cover some of that up, as would lavender.
    Again, it is an eyesore, but you gotta follow the sun, and here in Texas, container plants dry out faster than the ground. Hope someone will help her with the landscaping that way everyone can be happy.

    1. I agree. I think you can have a vegetable garden in the front yard and disguise it as a flower bed with a little planning and design. Most people don’t want their property values to decline and I think that’s a valid point. There are people, though, that get a thrill from running other people’s lives.

      Those photos in the article of edible landscaping are nice, but they were designed by expert gardeners. Most of us would need three or four growing seasons to figure out how to plant and maintain such a thing. It’s not for amateurs in the front yard. Moreover, the stakes, cages, and trellises will look junky if not carefully disguised.

      Her choice of materials seems to be a large part of the problem. Stone or brick edging would look better that the square wood boxes in the center of the lawn. I would have tried to retain a wide traditional walkway with a grass border down the center to blend in with the neighbors, instead of the woodchips. In general, the bed might look better if it was pushed to the sides of her lawn.

      I find that a ‘junglized’ front yard, when the plantings are in straight line along the property border, looks out of place in a neighborhood with rolling front grassy lawns. It helps if you blur the edges of your garden by having an irregular border and keep some grass to blend in. Throwing in a few flowers at the front of your vegetable beds, as you suggested, seems to help.

      I have some raised beds in my backyard and I definitely support the rising trend in home gardening. My front yard is small and north-facing or I would have tried to incorporate some vegetables there as well. I’ve seen some great cucumber vines in containers on the front porch, and potatoes do well in deep containers such a trash cans (or get an good looking deep round green bucket). With our economic problems, I believe it’s very important for people to return to this somewhat lost art for survival. I’ve found there is a lot to learn and much practice is needed. Besides the specific needs of every plant, every year the weather is different and you need to learn how to cope with the varying conditions nature gives you.

      1. i am a friend of Julie and I wanted to fill you in on some important details of this story. The reason she did this in the first place is that she had to have her front yard torn up to replace the sewer line. Instead of replanting grass that she is not a big fan of she asked me to make her the raised beds. I agree that her garden has many ways to improve the “curb appeal” but that takes time Time that she has not had but would have if she did not have to deal with everything the city has thrown at her. I think she is doing a great job at representing the rights of all of us. The raised beds have never been the point of contention!( they are actually allowed by the code of the city) it has always been about the fact that she planted them with veggies and not flowers( which she did plant marigolds to help keep away the rabits.) I completely value your opinion and it sounds like you probably would waver to her side on the issue, but I just wanted to give you some more details so you knew the whole story.

        1. She should contact P. Allen Smith to get some ideas on how to disguise her boxes. He likes yard makeovers, although he doesn’t seem to worry about the cost when he designs a garden.

          I like the idea below about putting a row of shrubs across the front. Perhaps they could also turn the corner on each side. Adding stone pillars that flank either side the entrance to the the yard with the shrubs might help dress it up. Shrubs large enough to make a difference can be expensive. Maybe she should call local landscapers to see if they know someone who wants to remove a row of shrubs. She could make a deal with them and help dig them up. Years ago my mother got a row of shrubs from a neighbor who was digging them up and planted them in her yard.

      2. It may look “out of place”, but that doesn’t mean it should be illegal. That is what is at stake here. Legalizing conformity really should have no place in America — or is it no longer the Land of the Free?

  15. If it’s OK to plant on the White House lawn, it should be fine for an American family to plant a garden on any part of THEIR yard. They are usually nicer looking than alot of yards. Keep up the fight Julie

  16. Plant a row of shrubs in front of the raised beds, to create a little bit of a barrier, and tell the city to stick it!

  17. We hope they win their fight for this stupid charge for wanting to grow a garden. The boxes look great and soon they will reap a harvest. We garden all year round here in Southern California, we love gardening and especially enjoying the fruits and vegetables we harvest. It is hard work, but it is worth it. We are carrying on the generations of families who did the same every year. Now we have heard and read the most horrible rulings by people you should not be in the offices where they work. This man should lose his job for sure.

  18. This whole thing is absurd! For a person in public office to go after a family for planting food in their yard, whether he finds it appealing or not, and spending city funds/taxpayer money during these tough economic times is unreal.

    The idiot needs to do a little research. I did a simple google search for “the right to provide for food” and came up with the following……

    Right to an adequate standard of living, including food. Article 25 of the UDHR states: “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food […]”. Article 11(1) of the ICESCR states: “the States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food […]”.


    Deprivation of food and of means of subsistence. Article 1(2) of the ICCPR and of the ICESCR states that “in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence”

    If this idiot took the time to do some research, be it in a law library or on the internet, he could save the city time, money and humiliation.

  19. Each and every day I see things like this that just sadden me. This country is getting worse and worse with each passing day. Yes there is a lot that this country does to make its citizens proud, but in this day and age our citizens are becoming more ashamed of this country and the people that run it.

    What if she fights this and she loses? She does time in jail? So what happens when she gets released from jail? Does she have a certain amount of time to remove the “offending” plants? What if she still refuses to remove them? Will this waste of breath, Mr. Rulkowski, push for more charges against her? I say someone should take Mr. Rulkowski to court for wasting a courts time and tax payers money on something as trivial as this.

  20. I share your outrage, folks. This came through my inbox today, in case anyone here is interested in letting the City of Oak Park know just what you think!

    City of Oak Park, Michigan

    Mayor Gerald E. Naftaly gnaftaly@att.net

    Mayor Pro Tem Michael M. Seligson mmseligson@comcast.net

    Council Angela Diggs adjack@comcast.net

    Council Paul Levine paul4oakpark@yahoo.com

    Council Emile Duplessis duplessis2@aol.com

    City Manager Rick Fox rfox@ci.oak-park.mi.us

    Director/City Planner Kevin Rulkowski krulkowski@ci.oak-park.mi.us

    1. I’ve just finished sending my ‘two-bits’ to the city Mutha’s and Fathers and spreading those addresses around to my friends…

      Common, and for that matter all, sense should come down on the side of the garden. I’m just afraid that the powers that be will use property values as their weapon.

      Not that property has any real value now thanks to the bankers we’ve had to bail out.

  21. The garden is clearly nicely maintained and kept in order, so I think the neighbors have nothing to complain about. Honestly, it’s their yard, so they should be able to grow whatever they want. The idea that it’s not “suitable” is ridiculous. Just because it isn’t a grass lawn, someone who is extremely short-sighted ecologically and has cultural blinders on tries to enforce a vague legal code according to their personal taste. Honestly, while I’m sure that the homeowner doesn’t want a protracted legal battle, I can’t imagine that city code standing up to real legal scrutiny. You just can’t write laws that way – they must be specific.

  22. more than 25 years ago an organic gardener like me went out on a limb and planted my garden in the front yard, the only accessible place to plant. No one complained but one neighbor who said, “a garden in the front yard?” I was shocked. My garden provided food for our family for more than 25 years until our kids moved away to go to college. Need I say more? Michigan garden growers unite! A garden is a garden is a garden is a garden. There are many ugly front lawns, but is there such a thing as an ugly garden?

  23. As a Michigan native (though currently in Tokyo), I wonder how this is worse than all the raised flower beds with straggly trees…? I’ve seen far worse; at least it appears free of weeds. Though it’s best for the yard if they do put grass in the area without mulch to avoid erosion. You can’t be organic while ignoring the rest of the ecosystem.

    Still, I plan to have a garden once I get a house; you bet I’ll be fighting or doing jail time if some local government tells me to move my garden.

  24. This is why people hate government. I’m sure this is a lovely town, but has Oak Park really solved every other problem in its city to be devoting time, energy and resources to this? Maybe the city planner should create a public garden so he could learn a little something about community instead of trying to tear this private garden down.

  25. “…So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers,” says Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowsk…”

    So is a yard only suitable if grass, trees, bushes, and flowers are all present? What if I wanted to move in to town (not likely as I currently live in Portland Oregon where you can actually get tax credits for ripping up your yard and planting low water needs native plants,) and plant a yard full of a nice looking invasive grass that constantly crept into my neighbors yards? Or what about those beautiful trees? A few comments pointed out that the immaturity of these plants makes this less attractive than a multi-season established garden, so what if someone plants saplings that are young and awkward looking? Would Mr. Rulkowsk not consider them “beautiful trees” and require that only fully grown trees be planted? Maybe only maples (that looks like maple leaves in the corner,) are suitable for front yards. What about the plethora of poisonous yet beautiful decorative plants? Would their aesthetic value outweigh the risk to neighborhood children and pets? If I found my neighbors’ yards unsuitable I wouldn’t let my child give people tours of it. Which does raise the question, were there actually any complaints from neighbors? Also, if only live plant material is allowed, and they had replanted the yard with grass seed and covered it with straw (as is done to prevent washing away,) would the dead plant material of the straw been offensive?

    As far as what is common in “any other community” I would like to invite Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowsk to come visit Portland. He can stay with me and we’ll go see all the neighborhoods without a single grass lawn, the massive community spirit their front lawn gardens engender, the nationally award winning naturescape yards, the plantings of native local plants that help balance our rainfall/water soak and alleviate the overburdened (and extremely expensive to taxpayers,) sewer system, and the vast tracks of green space that taken all together help consistently get Portland ranked as one of the nicest places to live and win awards form national and international city and urban design, planning, and LANDSCAPING groups. Then maybe we could side trip to the Southwest where a green lawn is a sign of someone willing to waste vast amounts of taxpayer subsidized drinking water on irrigation.

    Maybe he just wants to keep the neighborhood in line with the aesthetic values of when the houses were built. In which case I have to ask a man who wants perfect lockstep conformity, are you now or have you ever been…

  26. I think a clothesline in front of the gardens would make a nice visual screen.

  27. Great post and website — too bad you advertise for the diploma mill Phoenix University.

  28. Ok, I’m looking at this logically in the way of vocabulary and a reading teacher. We teach students to break words down into their root and prefix or suffix to understand a word. Suitable truly means to be able to suit. The Miriam Webster definition of suitable finds nothing that says nothing about common. If you look up “suit” being a verb, then you get this:
    : to be in accordance : agree
    2: to be appropriate or satisfactory <these prices don't suit

    This town is probably like a lot of other towns in the US right now that is hurting for tax money and finding themselves grappling with budgetary issues. Is this simply a way to gain funds and harrass a family for doing something good?
    Could this be a matter the ACLU? Is the government of Oak Park, Michigan voilating this family's privacy?

    I hope you will post an outcome of this case on your blog also.

  29. I salute you! I have also utilized my front courtyard for gardening and flowers. My husband, who when with me to pick the vegetables, decided we also needed corn. I had hoped to plant in the backyard but did not have a proper place for the four stalks so planted them in the front along the courtyard wall. We have had fun telling the neighbors we have our own little corn maze. I wish I could post up a picture to show how integrating the vegetables and flowers/shrubs is beautiful but the pictures above prove my point. I would love to live in a neighborhood with gardens like that.

  30. We want to encourage our children as well as our community to eat fresh and healthy, thanks to our first lady Michelle Obama. Now this family is growing a beautiful garden and they are being penalized just because it is in front of their home, that’s simple outragious!!! Mr. Kevin the planner please think twice and encourage the family to grow fresh produce, I saw the front yard it’s beautiful, Ms. B. don’t take it down, I’m sure all Americans are on your side. Mrs. Obama I hope you will do something to help her and her 6 beautiful children how important it is to grow a garden, the kids could play in their back yard with out hurting the veg/fruit garden by throwing a ball etc.. and safety purposes to not go into the street,etc.. I commend you, GOOD LUCK!!!! Samar


  32. Okay,
    Here is a lil thought…have u seen the prices of tomatoes lately? As well planned out, built and cared for as that lil garden is who could possibly object? Besides, it helps feed bees, butterflies and various other critters…that
    most weed and feed lawn products kill!
    I am appalled that anyone could object!


  33. Keep it up, the people have had enough of being told what to do.. you have a lot of supporters.
    Enough is enough!

  34. I’m pretty fond of the US English Oxford dictionary of the English Language.. “Suitable. adj., Right or appropriate for a particular person, purpose, or situation:these toys are not suitable for children under five.”

    This planner, Kevin Rulkowski, is either someones tool or just a fool. His opinion is intolerable. Looks like time to craft a suitable e-mail.

  35. 70 years ago, this wouldn’t have been a question, the city would have used her as an example of a patriotic American, since they were already encouraging victory gardens. That’s where you have your sun, put it in

  36. Oak Park is part of the Detroit Metro Area. One would think it has better things to worry about.

  37. The two undeniable facts of life are:
    1) You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
    2) No “man” (note the quotes) is an island, able to do whatever they want, wherever they want.

    If the Bass family wants a big garden, chickens, goats and a windmill, move to the God D@mned country.

    1. Jeez Ron, what are your two “points” (note the quotes) supposed to prove in relation to this story? Why should they move to the country. You can’t do whatever you like when what you are doing is harming others, sure, but since when is growing your own veggies harming others? Get a grip! It’s their yard and if they want to grow veg it’s none of anyone else’s business.

  38. someone needs to go around and look at every one else’s front yard and look for fruit trees, herb, and vegetables that are growiing and take pictures and and addresses and then submit it to the Bass family to take to court. If there is enough “evidence” against the city planner he is going to have to drop it and save face somehow.
    What hasn’t been said is that in like my town, if you do not take care of the problem the city will come in and do it for you and send you the bill and add a misdemeanor charge and if not paid will seize said property and sell it at auction.
    What gets me is that the local kids were visiting and helping out, so wouldn’t that be considered a suitable yard? If the parents or neighbors don’t have problem then there is NO problem.

  39. she needs to get Michelle Obama involved. this sounds like something the first lady would take to heart. see the little town try to fight her!

  40. I don’t want my neighbors growing corn in their front yards either. Some gardens are lovely, but most are ugly as sin. Who’s to judge what’s suitable? The city, obviously. The lady was warned, so she has no excuse. Disobey and suffer the consequences. Oh, and plant your garden in your backyard.

    1. This type of thing is happening more and more around the country it makes me sad inside to think of what will be left of this once great nation when our children take over.We need to stand strong and stand together I appluad you for what you are doing atleast this family has the balls to stand up and say enough is enough.Dont give up the fight.Heard about this story on infowars.com very good place to find real news.Keep up the fight !!!!!

  41. OMG What is wrong with this country? This city? MI is practically bankrupt. She is growing vegetables. Don’t stick her in jail and waste money over vegetables. Many veggies have beautiful flowers. Maybe they need to be schooled on gardening.

  42. I’d go for a few herbal knots. Much better than grass, prettier by far, and you’ll make the neighbors jealous!

  43. This reminds me of my grandmother’s friend who had native prairie flowers growing in sectioned areas of her front yard. It wasn’t an unruly yard going to prairie, there were specific plants in very specific areas, but they got fined because a neighbor complained.

  44. I looked up suitable in four different dictionaries, not one of used “common” anywhere in the definition

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