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War on Gardens: Orlando Man Fights City Over Front Yard Farm

Sustainability in the face of cookie cutter ordinances

Common Dreams staff

Local news station reports on the battle waging in Orlando between the city and gardener resident Jason Helvingston.

Helvingston was ordered to dig up his front yard garden by Thursday; however, he remains defiant. “You’ll take my house before you take my garden,” he reportedly told city officials.

"There's nothing wrong here. There's nothing poisonous here. This is a sustainable plot of land," Helvingston said in an interview with local news station Channel 6. From his 25 x 25 foot front yard, Helvingston harvests vegetables including beans, radishes, kale and swiss chard.

According to the report, Helvingston’s garden violates city code that requires front yards to be planted with ground cover, giving the appearance of uniformity which is supposedly good for property values.

"We are definitely not bothered by it," neighbors said of Helvingston’s garden. "We love it."

Helvingston has collected 200 signatures from neighbors who support his garden in hopes of convincing the city to reconsider the code when he appears before the city board next month.

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