As surprising as it may seem, you actually don’t have the right to grow your own fruits and vegetables on your own private property. In some states- Florida, namely- people have been fined thousands of dollars for planting vegetable gardens and even gone to prison for trying to live off the grid. Last week, though, the state of California took a stand against the tyranny of the suburban lawn by passing the Neighborhood Food Act.
The Neighborhood Food Act, AB 2561, is just one of several sustainable foods bills signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown last week. Designed to removes barriers to growing food for personal consumption, the bill ensures that people have the right to grow food for themselves regardless of their housing status, and includes provisions that would completely overturn local zoning ordinances that prohibit growing food in front yards, backyards, or otherwise vacant lots (assuming they’re owned by the grower) in “residential” areas and other types of zones. Furthermore, the Neighborhood Food Act guarantees tenants’ and members of homeowner’s associations’ rights to grow food for personal consumption by voiding contrary language in existing lease or homeowner’s associations agreements.
The news will, doubtless, be welcomed by hobbyist gardeners, homesteaders, and the prepper communities, alike- and serves to show how those movements are growing. Hopefully, a number of Californians will- despite the drought- find a way to grow healthy, nurturing produce that enhances their communities as it improves their food security. Now we just need to get the other 49 states on board with the grow-your-own philosophy of self-reliance … what could be more American than that?
California Gov. Jerry Brown