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July 18, 2021

Is growing a front-yard vegetable garden really a crime?

Like many health-minded consumers, Julie Bass planted a vegetable garden on her property last year. So what? 

Images Well, she chose to take the unusual step of installing neatly arranged raised beds of vegetables in her front, rather than back, yard.

And now she faces fines and jail time thanks to local authorities who quote municipal codes that require front yards to have only “suitable” live plant material.

It comes down to property values, of course. The public display of tomatoes on the front lawn makes a home—and by extension, the surrounding residential development, neighborhood, and town—appear somehow shabby. Or so the thinking goes.

Supporters say that small-scale urban agriculture has the potential to change the way we eat and farm, and to revolutionize our relationship with the food on our plate. To say nothing of the money that can be saved growing your own veggies or at least supporting those that do.

That’s why the Friends of Urban Agriculture in Lantzville, B.C. have asked their district council to strike a committee to look at zoning bylaw changes to regulate urban agriculture. And they’re not alone.

Here are a few examples of other low-impact front-yard gardeners in Vancouver and further arguments from others who think front-yard vegetable gardens can be a better choice than lawns.

Want to get started yourself? Here are a few tips to consider.

Is urban homesteading this way a blight on the landscape, second only to raising chickens? Or does it really matter if someone grows cucumbers rather than grass outside the front door? What's happening in your neighbourhood? 

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money

* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.





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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...