Wednesday, April 18, 2012

City Cuts Down Gardener's Food and Medicine Garden

Ms. Morrison talks with KOTV reporter about the damage done to her garden. Photo courtesy: KOTV/Video screen capture

There are few things I despise more than high-handed bureaucratic tactics...and, this one incites me to riot. Look at that woman's face, she is devastated. I hope the city of Tulsa gets a ton of flack over this one.

KOTV reports that Denise Morrison grows an edible and medicinal garden of over 100 plant varieties in her front and back yard. Last August, she received a letter from the city reporting a complaint about her yard.

She took photographs of her gardens and went to meet with city inspectors who told her “Everything, everything needs to go” when she asked for problem areas to be pointed out.

Upon hearing that all of her garden would have to be destroyed she called the police who issued her a citation so she could appear in court and work it out with the city. At her court hearing on August 15 the judge directed both parties to return to court in October.

Ms. Morrison captures city workers on video destroying her plants. Photo courtesy: KOTV/Video screen capture

The very next day, Morrison found, and photographed, city workers cutting down most of her plants-with what appears to be a bobcat and riding lawnmower- including trees that bore fruits and nuts. It is important to point out here that the city did not have permission to take action against the garden because the judge had put off hearing their case until October.

Before and after shots of Ms. Morrison's garden. Photo courtesy: KOTV/Video screen capture

Everything that Morrison grew could be eaten. At the time the gardener was unemployed and not covered by insurance. She used her garden not only to feed herself, but to treat her diabetes, high-blood pressure and arthritis. According to Morrison, when she explained this to the enforcement officials she was told “we don’t care.” Morrison has filed a civil rights lawsuit arguing that the enforcement officials overstepped their bounds.

If this is sounding familiar to you it's because gardens like Morrison's are always coming under attack. Remember the story of Adam Guerrero last year that made national headlines after Colleen blogged about it at TreeHugger?

I wish Ms. Morrison all the luck with her lawsuit because gardens are a civil right; and, the removal of hers was high-handed, illegal, and unfeeling. If you wish to make your views known about this travesty, please click here. All contact info for the city of Tulsa is here.

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