Saturday, January 29, 2022
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Senate bill to protect vegetable gardens gets House companion

A bill filed in the Senate to protect residential vegetable gardens from local bans now has a House companion. The goal: Facilitating “the development of sustainable cultivation of vegetables and fruits at all levels of production, including for personal consumption.” A request for comment from Fetterhoff is pending. Bradley, now Senate Appropriations chair, sponsored the measure last Session when it cleared the Senate 36-1. However, it later died in the House without a hearing. The issue attained statewide prominence when a Miami Shores couple sued for the right to plant a vegetable garden in their front yard. While they had cultivated their garden for two decades, local code enforcers made their move. Indeed, a recurrent debate in the Capitol is one of pre-emption versus home rule. When asked about potential concerns that state law would abrogate local control, Bradley noted that “home rule is not a blank check to stomp on the fundamental rights of citizens. “Whether it’s a hobby or a way for a cash strapped family to save money without sacrificing their nutrition, government at any level has no business telling Floridians they cannot grow their own food because of where they live,” she said. “Just today, I toured a garden in my district that is being set up to help educate and empower our community through self-sustainability practices like gardening.