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Couple fined for having a "patriot garden"

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

An Orlando couple has been ordered to dig up their front yard vegetable garden by the city. They'll be fined $500 a day until it's done.

Photo credit: Todd Anderson for the New York TimesAn Orlando couple has been ordered to dig up their front yard vegetable garden by the city. They'll be fined $500 a day until it's done.

Jennifer and Jason Helvenston's Garden



Photo credit: Todd Anderson for the New York Times
An Orlando couple has been ordered to dig up their front yard vegetable garden by the city. They'll be fined $500 a day until it's done.

Florida residents Jason and Jennifer Helvenston have spent the last year converting their front yard to an urban vegetable garden. Their back yard doesn't get much sun so they decided to plant a 25-25 foot plot in the front.

What started out as a simple way to save money on food costs and grow their own vegetables and herbs eventually turned into a community affair with neighbors and kids coming over to check out the yard and exchange some ideas.

And now they are being fined for it.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, The City of Orlando has ordered the couple to dig up the garden by today, January 10, 2013, or face a $500 daily fine.

The New York Times reports that a neighbor, Pedro Padin, who owns the rental property next door, but lives in Puerto Rico, felt that the yard looked messy. “All the houses are pretty much kept neat,” Mr. Padin said, “but his house looks like a farm.” Padin then launched a complaint with the city who said that the Helvenstons were failing to maintain ground cover on the property.

The Helvenstons, who call their garden a "patriot garden," are fighting back by launching an initiative called "Plant a Seed, Change the Law." The campaign encourages people to get involved with a peaceful protest by planting seeds and placing a Patriot Garden sign in their yard.

To request a free packet of seeds for your own Patriot Garden and learn more about the Helvenstons, visit www.patriot-gardens.com and patriotgardens.blogspot.com.
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