Do people have a right to garden in their front yard?


Photo Credit: Jon Roberts

Think about the acres upon acres that the American lawn covers across the country. Some homeowners are revolutionizing their lawns and turning them into gardens in order to provide their own food, freshly produced and pesticide free. It isn’t easy for these forward-thinkers (and doers) though, like the courageous farmers in the article below have experienced. They face opposition with their neighborhoods and city hall over codes that enforce homeowner’s to have ground cover (lawns) maintained.

The complaints about the garden in the front yard are that it looks untidy and it lowers surrounding property value. With the ever growing, unsustainable consumer culture running rampant across America, shouldn’t we be giving home gardeners awards for contributing to sustainable living, rather than giving them citations?

Unfortunately, the powerful thing about consumer culture is that it is self affirming. It relies on underlying values that ultimately say that money and possessions can give you happiness. There is no room for values of eco-friendly, sustainable living, which is why a front yard garden is seen as a threat rather than an accomplishment. Because there is the possibility that it will lower the property values in the area, consumer driven property owners are worried that it will impact them negatively (less worth = less money = less happiness).

What can we do to change the wealth driven values in our culture today in order to have a livable world in the generations to come?

Article: The Battlefront in the Front Yard (Steven Kurutz, New York Times)


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