Florida couple wins six-year fight to grow vegetables in their yard
Homeowners Hermine Ricketts, right, and Tom Carroll chat as they speak to members of the media, Monday, July 1, 2019, in Miami Shores, Fla. The Miami-area couple held a ceremonial replanting of vegetables in their front yard as legislation to allow such gardens statewide went into effect July 1, following their long court battle to challenge a Village of Miami Shores' prohibition on front yard gardens. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Published Thursday, July 4, 2019 8:28AM EDT
A Miami-area couple ordered to destroy their garden six years ago are now able to grow vegetables once again.
Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll started growing vegetables in their front yard in Miami Shores Village, Fla., in 1996. In 2013, they received a surprise visit from a municipal official who told them about a new local law banning people from growing vegetables – but not fruit – in their front yards in the village.
The law was reportedly intended to improve the aesthetic appeal of the community. According to the Institute for Justice, which mounted a legal challenge on the couple’s behalf, Ricketts and Carroll were threatened with fines of US$50 for every day their garden remained.
Not willing to pay more than $18,000 per year to keep growing vegetables in their front yard, the couple dug up their garden as they attempted to fight the law. After two court rulings went against them, they turned to the political arena.
Nearly six years after Ricketts and Carroll removed their garden, their attempts to reverse the situation have finally borne fruit. Florida state lawmakers passed legislation in late June making it illegal for any municipality to specifically prohibit the growing of vegetables on residential property by the property’s owner.
“What is sad is that this fight even needed to be waged in the courts and the capital,” Ricketts said in a statement.
“We had a beautiful, nutritious garden for many years before the Village went out of its way to ban it.”
The law took effect on Monday, and Ricketts and Carroll marked the occasion by replanting their garden with an assortment of peppers and other vegetables.