Michigan — July 13, 2011 at 2:46 pm

GardenGate? Going to jail because of a vegetable garden? Only in Michigan…


THIS is unbelievable.

When Jason and Julie Bass had to rip up their front lawn to replace a pipe, they decided to rebuild it this spring with raised beds and filled them with vegetable plants.

Their front yard garden of cucumbers, tomatoes and peas has since landed the Oak Park couple a ticket, a court date and support from around the globe.


The Basses are scheduled to be in court July 26 and face misdemeanor charges for ordinance violation. If found guilty, they could face up to 93 days in jail.

Here’s what the oh-so-offensive garden looks like:

Photo credit: Julie Bass

Well. There you have it. No wonder they are going to jail. I mean, just look at it! Can you even believe it???

[Dramatic eyeroll]

Naturally, the Oak Park officials are getting lambasted GLOBALLY for this. I hope that the Basses do not back down and force the city to put them in jail for planting a tidy garden in the front yard. I’m not sure what’s worse, that some of her neighbors actually complained about this or that the city officials thought it was worth their time to create such a shitstorm about it.

There’s one person, at least, who thinks the city ought to be focusing their efforts on more important items. That person is Marian Meisner McClellan. She’s a progressive Democrat running for mayor in Oak Park, looking to unseat Gerald Naftaly who is up for reelection this fall.

Oak Park is going through a very difficult time with record numbers of foreclosures, property values sinking, and crime an all too often occurrence and threat. Devoting scarce public safety resources to prosecuting a vegetable gardener does not reflect our needs.

Sadly, when Oak Park residents hear crime, they think of theft, arson, hate crimes, and burglary – not vegetable gardens. We need city leadership to focus on jobs, fighting crime, and building strong and safe neighborhoods.

–Marian Meisner McClellan, July 12, 2011

I couldn’t possibly agree more.