MIAMI (CBS4) – A Miami Shores couple is taking the city to court over veggies.
For 17 years they grew vegetables in their front yard. But last May, Miami Shores' Code Enforcement officers inspected Hermine Ricketts and husband Tom Carroll's property and informed them that they were breaking the law by having a vegetable garden in front of their home.
"Last year we had kale, a variety of cabbages, onions and arugla," said Ricketts.
Now their front yard is bare since they were forced to uproot their edible greens.
"I politely asked the Village to leave me in peace and let me do my gardening, but they refused to do that," said Ricketts.
Miami Shores passed an ordinance that went into effect last May which banned front yard vegetable gardens.
The city threatened Ricketts and Carroll with fines of $50 a day, or about $1,500 per month, if they did not uproot the garden. Unable to bear the cost of such hefty fines, they destroyed years' worth of passion and hard work.
"When our garden was in full production, we had no need to shop for produce. At least 80 percent of our meals were harvested fresh from our garden," said Hermine. "This law crushes our freedom to grow our own healthy food. No one should have to expend time and energy dealing with such nonsense."
Now the couple is fighting back. The Institute for Justice has filed a suit on their behalf.
"The lack of reason is part of our complaint, there is no rational basis for a ban on a peaceful and productive use of property, like growing vegetables in your front yard," said IJ attorney Ari Bargil.
Asked if anyone ever complained about their garden, Ricketts replied never.
"As a matter of fact we get compliments and the other day a woman drove by and told me that my garden makes her happy," Ricketts
Vegetable gardens are allowed in the backyard however the Carroll said because of how their house is positioned they don't get enough sun light in the backyard when needed.
CBS4's Marybel Rodriguez contacted Vice Mayor Jesse Walters who said the lawsuit was news to him and if the Carrolls wanted to meet to discuss the matter he would gladly do so.
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