21 July 2012

Disgusted at Drummondville

I've seen a couple of stories along the lines of the one reported by the CBC on Wednesday. A couple living in Drummondville, Quebec, have been told that they have to replace their front-yard vegetable garden with at least 30% lawn or face fines of $100-300 per day. There was a similar story about this time last year about a family in Oak Park, Detroit who also faced fines and possibly jail time over a similar issue. In that case, the charges were dropped after the city was bombarded with negative publicity. I hope the same will be true in Drummondville.

In both cases the vegetable gardens were a credit to their neighbourhoods and had been started with the best of intentions by the families involved. I find these by-laws baffling and anachronistic. I can (sort of) understand them being passed in the 1950s, when the suburban lawn was the height of fashion, but in today's world, where we are more aware that maintaining the monoculture of a lush lawn is a waste of precious water (and not to mention the toxic weedkillers and fertilisers that make their way into those water supplies)?

Out of interest, I went to Google Street View to see if there was a 'before' snapshot of the Drummondville front yard. By some fluke, I landed on the exact spot on my first look. So here is the garden as it looked whenever the Google car went past (if I've got the right property):

And here it is today as recorded by the CBC.

So much more interesting and vibrant, I'd say. Not to mention productive, health-enhancing, environmentally responsible... Sigh.

The Drummondville case is even worse than the Oak Park one, because the city is planning to ban all front yard vegetable gardens in homes built after this Fall. You can probably hear me banging my head on the desk from there.


Diana Studer said...

words fail me. Do these cases start with a complaint from a deranged neighbour?

Amanda said...

Hi Diana - yes, in both these cases I think the cities were prompted to act through a complaint from a neighbour. Really neighbourly...

Lisa from Iroquois said...

I share your frustration at such short sightedness on the part of 'neighbors' and politicians. When I lived in Toronto it was common practice, especially in Little Italy, to turn postage stamp size front yards into vegetable gardens and that was 20 years ago. How can any town council contemplating such bans not be ridiculed out of office? And perhaps someone should drop a copy of Al Gore's book or video in their mail box (or some other appropriate author).

Linda said...

Shame on Drummondville for imposing such restrictions. There is all this talk of self sufficiency yet they are opposed to it for the sake of a nice green lawn. It is better to use water to grow veggies than to waste it on lawns. I"ve been following this story as well and hoping for a good outcome.