Jul 11, 2019Floridians’ right to home-grow fruit protected
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in late June signed legislation protecting the right of all Floridians to grow fruit and vegetables on their own property.
Starting July 1, any local Florida ordinance that expressly limits or prohibits growing vegetables on one’s own property is “void and unenforceable.”
The law defines a vegetable garden as a place where “herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated for human ingestion.” It doesn’t however, invalidate local government rules about gardens “relating to water use during drought conditions, fertilizer use, or control of invasive species.”
For one Miami-area couple, the law ends a long legal fight that started when their town ordered them to dig up the garden they had been growing for 17 years.
In 2013, a lawsuit on behalf of Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, filed by the nonprofit activist law firm the Institute for Justice (IJ), sought to strike down the Village of Miami Shores’ prohibition on front yard gardens as an unconstitutional violation of property rights. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Village. The Florida Supreme Court ultimately declined to hear the case, though the battle over the right to use your property peacefully and productively continued in the Florida legislature.
“After nearly six years of fighting, next week I will once again be able to legally plant vegetables in my front yard,” Hermine Ricketts said in a news release from IJ. “I’m grateful to the legislature and the governor for standing up to protect my freedom to grow healthy food on my own property. … We had a beautiful, nutritious garden for many years before the Village went out of its way to ban it and then threatened us with ruinous fines.”
Above, Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll are a married couple who have resided at their modest home in Miami Shores, Fla., for more than 20 years.
Photo: Institute for Justice