Florida couple wins right to plant vegetables in front yard after years-long legal battle
© Institute for Justice

A Florida couple who was forced to dig up their vegetable garden due to a town ordinance prohibiting vegetable gardens from being grown in front yards has finally won the right to grow vegetables as they please on their property after a years-long legal battle.

According to NPR, the married couple, Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, planted their first vegetables in their front yard for the first time in years on Monday, shortly after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida public schools will be required to provide mental health education for students To win over Midwesterners, Democrats should rethink school choice stance DeSantis wants statue of civil rights activist to replace Confederate figure on Capitol Hill MORE (R) signed legislation into law that protects citizens’ rights to grow vegetables and fruit on their property. 

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The law’s passage marked the ending to a six year legal battle the couple had been embroiled in since their town ordered them to uproot a vegetable garden they had been growing in their front yard for 17 years in Miami Shores.

The zoning ordinance reportedly prohibited residents from being able to grow vegetables in their front yard “on the grounds that they were unsightly,” NPR News said. As a result, residents could reportedly be fined $50 for each day they continued to grow vegetables on their lawns.

The Institute for Justice said they first filed a lawsuit against the town on behalf of Ricketts and Carroll in 2013, saying the ordinance represented an “unconstitutional violation of property rights.”

“Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Village,” the group said in a release. “The Florida Supreme Court ultimately declined to hear the case, though the battle over the right to use your property peacefully and productively continued in the Florida legislature.” 

Ari Bargil, an attorney representing the couple, said in a statement that when the Institute for Justice “heard that a local government was waging a senseless fight against Hermine and Tom’s vegetable garden, we were glad to come to their aid.” 

“When the courts refused to stand up for their rights, we didn’t give up, and this new law is the result of persistent advocacy,” he continued. "Hermine and Tom are free to replant their garden, a right they now share with every other Floridian."

“After nearly six years of fighting, next week I will once again be able to legally plant vegetables in my front yard,” Ricketts also said in the statement. “I’m grateful to the legislature and the governor for standing up to protect my freedom to grow healthy food on my own property.”

“What is sad is that this fight even needed to be waged in the courts and the capital. We had a beautiful, nutritious garden for many years before the Village went out of its way to ban it and then threatened us with ruinous fines,” she added. "Finally, the state has ended a senseless assault on our property rights.”