Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lawns Are the "Emperor's New Clothes"

I got this comment from a brave individual that went by the name "Anonymous" on the piece I wrote a while back about the situation with Julie Bass in Oak Park, MI:
well, at least she can now be famous for going against policies set years ago. The man was doing his job and now may get fired for enforcing policy set by others. I guess we all have forgotten this. Is it worth this , when it could have been planted in the backyard? Animals come and steal food from gardens and can get killed crossing the street. Homeless individuals or hungry children pass by and may want to take the food if it is within view each day. Food spoils and smells from gardens . This is silly, kind of like the Emperors New Clothes. Everyone wants to act as though this is ok, but would you want her next to your home with food almost in your front door? be honest. It is sort of tacky and rebellious to some degree. She has a back yard.
 I responded there, but I am kind of feeling like a slacker tonight (plus I have a bunch of beans that need processing and interesting novels to read...not sure which is going to win out there), so I figured I'd repost here, just for giggles:
Are you serious? First off, it is HER property that she OWNS so who are you to tell her what she can do on her property if it isn't hurting anyone or anything. She has her reasons for not planting it in her backyard and it is not your place to judge those reasons. Animals go for ornamental plants as well, so that argument is out. And, honestly, yes, I would LOVE my neighbors to have a vegetable garden in their front yard rather than a tacky monoculture of boring, useless, resource draining, unsustainable green grass. It IS okay!
 And then, silly me, hit "post", forgetting that I had left out some key rebuttal points (I seriously suck at debates.  This could be part of why.  And I'm entirely non-confrontational and a bit of a wuss in real life, well, unless someone really pisses me off, but that's another story) so I left another comment:
And having done some research on this in covering this story, I should mention too that Rulkowski had a hand in forming this vague ordinance that never would hold up in court should it actually make it there because of the sloppy wording. He can't just pass the buck to someone else when he loses his job, as he should. If they didn't want veggies in the front yard, the ordinance should explicitly say that!
 Obviously, the comment wasn't left by a regular reader, or they would know that I too have a front yard garden (and side yard, and back yard)!  

Just to reiterate, in my book:

Photo courtesy of Julie Bass
Photo courtesy of me.  This is my front yard.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
I thought the comparison to the "Emperor's New Clothes" was especially silly.  After all, which yard is wearing nothing?  Honestly, which would you rather have in your neighbor's yard?


  1. lol! definitely silly comparison! You forgot to tell this person that the very policy she was being taken to court EXCLUDES veggies.

  2. I happen to think her garden is very nice,she's got it in neat little raised beds,mulched all around,you can tell she's taken great care in the way she's built them and is maintaining them.

    Her yard should act as a beacon to encourage others living in her neighborhood to grow some of their own food as well.

  3. I actually think that the lawns are the emperors new clothes, no one is prepared to point out that growing grass is pointless, spending money on growing better grass is a waste of money and mowing is a waste of time and resources. This is multiplied tenfold for anyone who is growing grass in areas where grass isn't sustainable without daily watering. To continue to poor such resources into making peoples' yards look "nice" is ridiculous. Either change it to something that will grow or exist without watering or, like You, me and Julie, use the space to do something useful, like grow food!

  4. I think some of this is completely off people's thought radar's too- "food security". If the dollar keeps getting devalued at the rate it's been going, well- you can't eat grass. I have a lot of trouble growing veggies in my backyard due to too much shade. A huge maple tree sits right in the middle, so we have to work around it. Planting turf also wastes alot of resouces- planting, fertilizing, mowing, etc. Everything mowed either goes into the trash or hopefully, compost. And yes, it's boring. Why not just plant food? Lawns are not a big thing in Europe, do to smaller lot sizes. But it's also SMARTER. I would have no trouble having a neighbor with a front yard full of growing plants. We're going to add more veggies to our front yard next spring. It's inspired me!

  5. We have a lady in our suburban neighborhood, an English rose herself, named Elizabeth. She has turned her front yard into a beautiful, proper English garden complete with fruiting trees and all manner of local flora, something is blooming from early spring to late fall. It is tremendous. If I were a little girl, I would probably ask to have a tea party there! Anyway, if you talk to just about anyone in the neighborhood, they hate it. So do you know what she did? She got herself certified as an "official wildlife habitat" by the National Wildlife Federation! There is a plaque and everything! Also I think her whole backyard is edibles. I applaud her because all of those local flowering plants will drink a heck of a lot less water than the green green lawns that need to be sprinkled all summer. And they help the bees!

  6. OH NOES! Hungry children might be lured to front yards filled with organic homegrown veggies! But even worse, what if the homeless people lured into the neighborhood by the front yard gardens convince the kids to join them in their life of homelessness? WHAT THEN? Will Julie Bass take responsibility when my child is living under a bridge somewhere battling an addiction to illicit produce that her wanton gardening rebelliousness has encouraged? WHO WILL PROTECT THE CHILDREN!?