Julie Bass got the idea from First Lady Michelle Obama — why not plant what during World War II was called a “Victory Garden” — a small veggie garden in her yard?

Julie Bass' front-yard garden -- not "suitable," according to code enforcement officer

After all, “The price of organic food is kind of through the roof,” says the Detroit-area mom. “We thought it’d be really cool to do it so the neighbors could see. The kids love it. The kids from the neighborhood all come and help.”

However, now she faces 93 days in jail because a code enforcement officer says the city only allows “suitable” plants on residents’ lawns. Julie was given a warning, then a ticket and now she’s been charged with a misdemeanor.

“I think it’s sad that the City of Oak Park that’s already strapped for cash is paying a lot of money to have a prosecutor bothering us,” Bass told a local TV station.

“Vegetable gardens may be popping on abandoned land in Detroit, Michigan, but nearby Oak Park apparently likes broccoli as much as does George H.W. Bush,” observes author Selwyn Duke. “At least, that is, when it’s growing in a homeowner’s front yard.

“Resident Julie Bass is learning this the hard way. After Bass’s lawn was torn up during a sewer line’s replacement, an ambitious green thumb and the price of organic food inspired her to pursue a botanical project a bit more interesting than watching grass grow. The result was five large planter boxes boasting fresh basil, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, cumbers, and more — all visible from the street.”

But one neighbor wasn’t so helpful. He called the city and complained, prompting a visit from a code enforcement officer. Bass related what happened next to ABC News, stating:

They warned us at first that we had to move the vegetables from the front, that no vegetables were allowed in the front yard. We didn’t move them because we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong, even according to city code we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong. So they ticketed us and charged me with a misdemeanor.

Bass now faces a jury trial and a possible 93 days in jail if convicted.

Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski explains why a Victory Garden is not “suitable.”

“If you look at the definition of what ‘suitable’ is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers,” he said.

“I could sell out and save my own self and just not have them bother me anymore,” Julie told the British newspaper The Daily Mail. “But then there’s no telling what they’re going to harass the next person about.”

“Our attorney spoke to the prosecutor today,” she reported this weekend.  “His position: they are going to take this all the way. Officially, this means I am facing 93 days in jail if they win. No joke.”

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for July 26.

“Shame on you,” writes Duke to the City of Oak Park. “What would Michelle Obama think?

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