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Vegetable Garden Protections Clear Senate

March 21st, 2019 by Mike Vasilinda

The Florida Senate passed a bill Thursday preventing local governments from banning front yard vegetable gardens.

While only a few cities actually have a ban, it became a matter of property rights for some powerful and influential lawmakers.

Edgar Jackson grows vegetables to give away.

He is a man of few words, putting bluntly when we asked if he would want someone telling him he couldn’t grow his produce on his property.

“No, I wouldn’t,” said Jackson.

But State Senator Rob Bradley has plenty to say when it comes to local governments banning gardens in someone’s front yard.

“I find it outrageous that a local government would keep someone from growing food for their family on their own property,” said Bradley. “That’s why I filed the bill.”

Only a handful of cities ban front yard gardens.

A Miami Springs couple challenged the ban all the way to the supreme court and lost.

“I think it’s our duty to review decisions that are made in the courts,” said Bradley.

A handful of opponents say a sweeping ban goes too far.

“Where do the property rights of my neighbor end and mine begin with regard to a nuisance,” asked Senator Bobby Powell.

“These are fundamental property rights. When you own a piece of property you should be able to grow food on that property for your families consumption. With that I ask your support on this bill,” said Bradley.

The bill passed with a 35 to 5 vote.

One of those no votes is ironically named Farmer.

“Having a vegetable garden in a front yard will just attract more iguanas, as well as rats and some other stuff,” said Senator Gary Farmer.

As the bill moves through the House, there’s likely to be an effort to limit how big someone’s front yard garden can be.

The legislation has been a pun generator

“Lettuce get this done today,” said Senator Bradley addressing the chamber.

The legislation shows the reach a powerful state senator can have.

Miami Springs is the city that put the garden ban on the sponsor’s radar.

It’s 350 miles from his district outside Jacksonville.

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