MIAMI SHORES (CBSMiami) – A couple who challenged Miami Shores’ ban on front-yard vegetable gardens held a ceremonial replanting of their garden on Monday.
For 17 years Hermine Ricketts and husband Tom Carroll grew vegetables in their front yard.
But in May of 2013, Miami Shores’ Code Enforcement officers informed the couple that they were breaking the law by having a vegetable garden in front of their home.
Ricketts and Carroll dug up the garden after finding out having it was punishable by fines of $50 per day.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the hospital just health issues because I couldn’t be in my garden touching the soil and interacting with nature, a garden is a healing healthy place,” said Ricketts.
The couple decided to fight back.
The Institute for Justice filed a suit on their behalf claiming Miami Shores’ prohibition on front yard gardens as an unconstitutional violation of property rights.
Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Village. The Florida Supreme Court ultimately declined to hear the case.
But that wasn’t the end.
Their legal fight inspired a bill which passed in this year’s legislative session and was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis.
The new law, which went into effect July 1st, makes any local ordinance that expressly limits or prohibits growing vegetables on one’s own property “void and unenforceable.”
The bill defines the term “vegetable garden” as a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are grown for human consumption.
The only exceptions would be for local regulations and ordinances relating to water use during drought conditions, fertilizer use, or control of invasive species.
“This was an emotional case, we’re talking about the very source of someone sustenance that goes to the core of who they are,” said the couple’s attorney Ari Bargill.
Volunteers with the Institute For Justice helped the couple begin replanting today with tomatoes, peppers, and parsley.