The weird, bureaucrats-run-amok saga in Oak Park, Mich., in which a woman faced jail time for planting a veggie garden in her front yard, is over for the time being. After news of the case went viral and the city was hammered with negative publicity, officials suddenly dropped the charges filed against the woman, Julie Bass, for purportedly violating city codes.
According to the Detroit News, city officials dropped the charges without giving Bass a head’s up. She found out about the change of heart from the courts. Her lawyer, Solomon Radner, offered one theory explaining Oak Park’s actions:
“Charges are dropped for the time being,” Radner said. “Based on the games the city has been playing, I would not put it past them to drop the charges just to get the media off their back.”
The city is still pursuing charges against Bass for failure to have a dog license, even though the Basses have since gotten the necessary licenses. The charges related to the dog license, like the charges for violating codes with an “unsuitable” front yard, carry a maximum sentence of 93 days in jail.
Meanwhile, at the Oak Park Hates Veggies Facebook page, which was created to support the Basses and has generated support from around the world (over 29,000 “likes”), attention has been called to another case in which someone is being persecuted for growing vegetables on his property. Dirk Becker, who transformed a dilapidated 2.5-acre lot in Lantzville, British Columbia, into an urban agriculture producer dubbed Compassion Farm, has been ordered to cease operations of the farm because of zoning regulations.