A Salad Worth Fighting For
The above photo is the first (mostly) complete meal I've made from my front-yard garden this season. I say mostly complete because not everything in it was from the garden. Being early in the season (and the fact that I got a late start), the garden has a small amount of a lot of different vegetables that are ready. But lettuce right now is the most abundant, unfortunately the tomatoes are still green. Besides the lettuce, I was also able to pick a couple florets of broccoli, some green beans, 1 teeny cucumber, a miniscule sweet pepper, green onions, and a bunch of herbs. I also added (not from the garden) a sliced apple, some cheese, and a few whole wheat croutons. I tossed the salad with a simple vinaigrette and ate it on my front porch just a few feet from where most everything grew. The salad was delicious and the ingredients were still warm from the sun. But while I ate I couldn't help but think of Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan. I don't know Ms. Bass, nor have I been to Oak Park; what I was thinking about specifically was the newspaper stories that have been circulating the Internet regarding her front-yard vegetable garden. I first came across the story here, but here is another version . It is, apparently, illegal to grow vegetables in your front lawn in Oak Park (click here to go to a blog regarding this story and issue); it has, in fact, only been a couple years since it is deemed "suitable" to do the same in Buffalo, the city from which I type these words. I remember hearing of a couple gardeners a few years back getting fined and forced to remove their vegetables from their front yards. With Julie Bass it's even worse...she may be arrested and face 93 days in jail. What? Have you ever heard of such an asinine thing? In an age when eating local is a very serious issue, this is what is determined. What's more, if you look at the pictures of her garden it is neat and orderly (far neater than my garden)...it is far from an eye sore. With all the publicity this has generated my hunch is that the "charges" will be dropped or lessened. And I don't know what Ms. Bass' plans are but if it were me I would stand my ground (yes I am aware of the overt pun) and choose the jail time and refuse to dig up my vegetables. And this is what I thought about as I ate and enjoyed my salad as I gazed out at my teeny patch of dirt where they are still growing. As aforementioned, the salad was delicious, really delicious. Maybe it was where I was eating or what I was thinking about--maybe it was simply that I was sitting in the shade on a hot and sunny day on the last day of my vacation--but I also thought that this salad was most definitely worth fighting for.
Below are a few pictures I took this afternoon (click it for a larger view). To see a garden plan of what I grew last year, and how much can be grown in such a small area, click here. When I was a kid my mom, who came of age during WWII, referred to vegetable gardens as Victory Gardens. For a variety of reasons this term seems as appropriate today as it did then. Click here to see images regarding Victory Gardens. Click here to go home.