On Jan. 7, WKMG Local 6 Orlando reported that a young couple’s garden may cost them up to $500 in fines a day unless they destroy it and plant a grass lawn instead. The edible garden, which is in the front yard of the couple’s home, violates an Orlando city ordinance requiring all gardens to have a "finished appearance."
Homeowner Jason Helvenston claims the small plot of vegetables and herbs, which he has dubbed his ‘patriot garden’ is an expression of his rights as an American. "The greatest freedom you can give someone is the freedom to know they will not go hungry,” he stated in an interview.
Helvenston added his garden helped provide the couple with healthy food and saves both money and the environment. "Our Patriot Garden pays for all of its costs in healthy food and lifestyle while having the lowest possible carbon footprint,” he noted. “I really do not understand why there is even a discussion. They will take our house before they take our Patriot Garden."
To protest the unfair city ordinance, the couple is encouraging others to plant their own edible gardens. "We are asking residents across Orlando and the country to join us in planting a ‘Patriot Garden’ in their own front yards,” Jennifer Helvenston said. The Helvenston’s are also passing out radish seeds and signs reading ‘Patriot Garden: Plant a Seed, Change the Law,’ to encourage other Orlando residents to get in on the act.