Monday, September 13, 2010

The Perils of Too Many Veggies...

As the popularity of home farming and other forms of micro-farming continues to grow (pun intended), it won't be a surprise to see more disputes like this one resulting from the single and separate use formats of today's typical Euclidean-style zoning codes:

DeKalb County is suing a local farmer for growing too many vegetables, but he said he will fight the charges in the ongoing battle neighbors call “Cabbagegate.” Fig trees, broccoli and cabbages are among the many greens that line the soil on Steve Miller’s more than two acres in Clarkston, who said he has spent fifteen years growing crops to give away and sell at local farmers markets.


In January, Dekalb County code enforcement officers began ticketing him for growing too many crops for the zoning and having unpermitted employees on site. Miller stopped growing vegetables this summer and the charges were put on hold as he got the property rezoned. Two weeks after approval, however, his attorney said the county began prosecuting the old charges, saying he was technically in violation before the rezoning.

As someone with fig trees, sunflowers, blackberry bushes, and a host of other veggies and fruits growing in his backyard, the question for me remains:  "How much is too much when it comes to growing local and healthy food in your own backyard?"

Dare I test fate (and the HOA) and even think about healthy and fresh eggs from a backyard source?

--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.

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Chad - I saw this in the Athens paper. I'm glad you blogged it. We've had lots of controversy here over urban chickens (as I previously blogged) but this is the first I've seen of too many veggies. It would be hilarious if it weren't such a pain for the farmer. I wonder why the pushback against local food. I would think any town with a farmers market could have lots of little operations like this.

Posted by: Jamie Baker Roskie | Sep 14, 2010 5:26:58 AM

Jamie and Chad - I am actually working on an article about these very issues: how current zoning ordinances prevent people from being as "locavore" as they want to be (backyard chickens, front yard gardens, agricultural vs residential zoning, etc.). Thanks for the link!

Posted by: Sarah Schindler | Sep 15, 2010 7:45:52 AM