Monday, July 25, 2011

Gardening a Crime In Canada, Too

A couple who live on Vancouver Island (off Canada’s western coast) has been threatened with six months in prison for growing food on their 2.5-acre lot in a semi–rural location. When Dirk Becker bought the property in 1999, the soil had been stripped down to bedrock and sold by the previous owner — that was perfectly legal. Since then, Becker has been slowly and laboriously building soil, in which to grow fruits and vegetables. That is illegal.

The Beckers were first informed that they had violated the “unsightly premises” statute of the district in which they live, with “piles of manure and soil all over the property.” (From their property they can see cows and horses grazing — legally — in their neighbors’ fields.) Turned out that was one pile of soil that was semi-legal, so they moved it.

Then they were notified to stop “all agricultural activity” under a law that prohibits growing “crops” on land that is zoned “residential.” This is not a matter of front yard or back yard, lawn or garden, even anal neighbors (although apparently it was one such who started all this for the Beckers). If you grow something and eat it, you’re a criminal. This on an island that has two days’ supply of food available on any day.

If you can read the details of this stone-stupid law and its enforcement and not despair over the survival of a society thus governed, you really have to explain. (more)