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Green Fists: Frontyard Farming Victory in Quebec

Josée Landry and Michel Beauchamp successfully fought bureaucrats who wanted to shut down their front yard garden. Victoire!

Earlier this month we told you about Karl Tricamo, the Missouri stay-at-home dad who turned his frontyard into a productive kitchen garden—or "yarden" as he called it—only to have the city code enforcers say he was in violation and inspectors harass him. That story ended well: Tricamo fought back with the help of a libertarian lawyer and now he and his neighbors are free to grow their greens in peace.


GOOD reader Sarah NB wrote in response:

How, in the land of the free, is it possible that you can own your property but not be permitted to grow food on it? Your country and mine (UK) are quick to go to war to protect our 'way of life' only to allow our own governments to take it away.

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The battle over street-facing edible gardens flared up recently in the small Quebecois city of Drummondville where Josée Landry and Michel Beauchamp tore out their sod and planted an ambitious kitchen garden only to face the same fate as Tricamo: nonplussed bureaucrats.

The couple refused to lay down their spades. They held a "bed in" for their garden, the local media paid attention, and Kitchen Gardens International got behind them with a petition that gathered tens of thousands of supporters. The Drummondville Municipal Council this week backed down, but they've even gone a step further. City officials have invited the couple to help them rewrite the code. Petition organizer Roger Doiron is hopeful this could help other frontyard farmers fight the power:

The Drummondville case was one of the highest profile examples of a local municipality challenging the right to grow food in one’s own yard. While it took place in Canada, it quickly attracted international media attention because of the garden’s beauty and productivity. The win is significant because it helps establish a precedent that other urban and suburban gardeners can refer to when similar challenges arise in other parts of the world.

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After all, at a time when many cities can't even keep their food banks stocked due to budget cuts and the drought and Congress is looking to gut food stamp programs, does it really make sense for governments to make it harder for people to grow their own food?

Image via Le Potager Urbaine

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