One of my friends recently brought to my attention the stunningly beautiful front garden the Beauchamp family (Le Potager Urbain) planted in Drummondville, Quebec. And it wasn’t just to look at the raised beds. It was to express dismay that the local City council is telling them they have to dig it up and change it to grass as per the city ordnance. (Actually, they may not have to dig all of it up; perhaps just 30%. Perhaps it’s the percent of their front garden that belongs to the city?)
Take a look at this YouTube video showing the transformation of the garden since spring:
A spokesperson for the city said neighbours have complained about the garden.
Beauchamp said no one has complained to him. He said he shares his fresh produce with his neighbours.
-CBC News Montreal, Drummondville couple fights to keep vegetable garden
The other day, when I heard about the Beauchamps, they had only a few days before they would be facing fines of $100-$300 per day if they did not dig up their garden and replace it with grass. Happily, due to the international focus (yay for social media) they have been given a reprieve until 1 September.
Recent News Articles:
- CBC news: Drummondville couple fights to keep vegetable garden
- Huffington Post: Illegal Front Yard Garden: Canadian Couple’s Kitchen Garden Targeted By Authorities
- UK Daily Mail: Couple refuse to rip up ILLEGAL vegetable garden after demands from draconian council
If we didn’t have a beautiful almost 100 year old silver maple in our front yard, I would try a little vegetable gardening there. It’s the only section that really gets any sun. As far as I know, Toronto does not disallow front yard vegetable gardening. As far as I know it’s just backyard chickens that we’re not allowed to have.
But I did a quick internet search to see and found the following:
- Canadian Gardening: The politics of gardening: Bygone bylaws (canadiangardening.com/gardens/specialty-gardens/the-politics-of-gardening-bygone-bylaws/a/34885/2)
- Your Home: The real dirt: City squashes front yard veggie plot (2010) (yourhome.ca/homes/outdoorliving/gardeningandlandscaping/article/877949- -the-real-dirt-city-squashes-front-yard-veggie-plot) Yup. That’s about Toronto.
- Toronto Gardens: No front yard veggies for Toronto? (2010)
And yet, when I searched through the City of Toronto website, I could find nothing saying that front yard vegetable gardening is disallowed. I did find this page Grow your own food (toronto.ca/livegreen/greenlife_localfood_grow.htm) that has a link to “A guide to growing food in the city” In the guide, it says:
Pretty much anywhere:
in the ground, up a wall,
in a container, on your
balcony, in a community
garden, on a roof….
-City of Toronto, A guide to growing food in the city (PDF toronto.ca/livegreen/pdf/get_growing.pdf)
Aha!!! After further searching, it appears they DID change the law! Good for them! Perhaps there’s hope for the Drummondvilled City council.
The city is now adopting an ordinance which will permit the use of “soft landscaping” – plants other than grass, including flowers, shrubs, and – (yes!) vegetables.
-Colleen Vanderlinden, TreeHugger, Toronto Changing Ordinance; Will Allow Front Yard Vegetable Gardens, July 2011
I tried to find anything at all about chickens or vegetables in the City of Toronto By-laws but made pretty much zero headway.
And speaking of OUR garden, I’m very pleased to report that our backyard cayenne pepper plant has several beautiful green peppers growing. All the red runner beans came up (no blossoms yet though…). And the lovage, bay tree, thyme, sage, oregano, nasturtium and basil are doing brilliantly. (Okay, the LEAVES of the nasturtium plants are doing brilliantly. So far, we have only seen two flowers.)
But the big news is that I suddenly got it in my head that we neeeeeded a fig tree. But where to get one? And I immediately gave up. But look what was at our vegetable store the other day!! (Ficus carica “Brown Turkey”) It already has little figs forming!
It was quite warm and sunny. We just got it home, thinking that it should be given a good watering. The heavens opened and we had the most brilliant rain storm. An absolute deluge, welcomed heartily by all.