No Vegetables For You!


A family in Sugar Creek, Missouri grew the beautiful vegetable garden in the photo above.

They’ve been given four days to tear out the entire garden or face a fine.

Why? Because it is in their front yard, and city officials and a few neighbors don’t like it.

Nathan Athans said he planted the garden in his front yard because it gets optimal sunlight. His backyard only gets sunshine for about two hours per day, and only in certain areas.

Athans told KSHB that he grows several different types of vegetables on his lawn and loves tending to his garden.

I’d probably say about 300 hours [so far this year], I spend all my free time out here.

I want my family to know where their food is coming from, I don’t want to have to go to the grocery store and worry about what was done to that food.

Last summer, the city cited Athans for weeds in his garden, and he complied with the order to clean things up, and paid the fine.

But now, the city has passed a shiny new ordinance – one that Athans believes is part of a witch hunt against him.

The family started an online petition, which explains why they feel targeted:

The city of Sugar Creek, Missouri passed an ordinance two days ago on March 28th, forbidding front yard gardens to grow food, within the first 30 feet of front yard space from the street. Mayor Matt Mallinson both passed and approved this ordinance. They gave us until April 1st to comply. We are the only house in the city with a front yard garden, and just happen to be exactly within those first 30 feet. They have been targeting us since we moved in last year, because we grew a garden in the front yard.

The city’s building official, Paul Loving, told KSHB that city received many complaints and that the ordinance is their solution.

The petition goes on to explain the reasons the garden is so important to Athans and his family:

We believe in sustainability, growing our food locally without pesticides and excessive fertilizer use, reducing our need for fossil fuels to import produce from other countries, countries that have little or no regulations on pesticide use. Sugar Creek is also prone to flooding, as it is located next to the Missouri River, so using our yard for growing plants instead of grass is beneficial because our garden takes in water as well as holding the soil together to prevent erosion, all while filtering out pollutants. It has helped our basement not flood during storms, prevented storm water runoff pollution, reduced fossil fuel use, helped us eat healthier, and prevented us from consuming pesticides and GMOs.

Unfortunately, Athans isn’t the first to be subjected to harassment over growing his own food. People have been charged with crimes, threatened with jail time, and had their property destroyed for growing gardens in their own yards.

Remember, in the US, you never truly own anything.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. InalienableWrights
    Apr 03, 2016 @ 20:51:08

    Welcome to the “land of the free””
    Thank one of the troops when you see one……


  2. Debra
    Apr 03, 2016 @ 22:37:21

    I looked up this little town of barely more than 3000 people. How ironic that it is situated between Liberty and Independence. I hope their petition has some effect on whatever goons make up the town council as well as their crabby and narrow minded neighbors. (if, indeed, there WERE any such complaints. It is my belief that “We got a complaint from a neighbor” is a tactic akin to a policeman saying he “smelled an odor” coming from your car so he can justify a search and hope to find something, anything that he can fine or arrest you for).


    • truthfarmer
      Apr 04, 2016 @ 08:12:52

      I agree! This is “code enforcement” and it is rampant across this whole country.Revenue collection is the raison d’etre for most of city codes. In the event that something were to happen to the supply side, be it cyber, infrastructure failure, economic fall down, or an actual act of war, people in cities are basically in prison. There are some things that can be achieved through local council or board actions. And if you are urban, you really should get in front of your city council or what have you and begin getting things in front of them to ensure that people can grow at least some of their own food.

      Yes, it is despicable to consider needing to “ask permission” to engage in something that is an absolute human right, but it might be the only way to do this in a city. Conversely, a small aquaponics system can be put in a garage, and you can get a lot of food out of that, but it takes serious attention and if you lose power and have no off grid power, you’ll lose it all. A couple solar panels and a small battery bank would do it. And about three months for the system to balance out well enough to stock fish. You can start growing greens right away though!


  3. Debra
    Apr 04, 2016 @ 12:32:40

    What happened to the old days when it was just assumed that people had gardens, even in cities if they had a tiny back yard? And victory gardens were fine since you were helping the country (government) as well as yourself. What is so unpleasant in a plant JUST because it bears fruit. MUST all plants be useless except perhaps for shade in their nanny eyes? Pretty gruesome tyranny.


  4. InalienableWrights
    Apr 04, 2016 @ 15:17:41

    Just the first of the ten planks of the communist manifesto that Demo-Publicans have hoisted upon us over the past 100 years.

    Why is anyone surprised at all? This is what they have voted for. This is the wonderful outcome of making other men your Gods and calling them zoning officials.


  5. greenman66
    Apr 12, 2016 @ 16:31:19

    They really need to replant their front yard with nicely trimmed topiary that look like this> then when they pass a law banning that they can plant an english knot garden that spells out “fuck you”.


  6. InalienableWrights
    Apr 13, 2016 @ 10:28:40

    There is something intrinsically wrong with our present form of government. The so called Republic has not worked since day one, and is a farce IMHO.

    The “government” needs far less power, and the people much much more.

    How about a law where if you “second amendment” a tyrannical political that is violating your rights rather than protecting them, you get a special trial of 50 jurors, and if a single one votes you not guilty by virtue of this law, you walk?

    Then you get a $5,000 bounty award for actually protecting the Republic.

    Do you think that the tyrants would then actually quit violating our rights and concentrate on protecting them instead?

    For the record, I am dead serious of some type of law like this. We need drastic changes to make government work. If not let’s just get rid of it, and try some free market anarchy, which I think would would work much better than what we have now.


  7. truthfarmer
    Apr 13, 2016 @ 11:59:36

    Like the old axiom….When the government fears the people there is liberty, when the people fear the government, there is tyranny.


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