Tallahassee, Fla.— Today, the Florida legislature moved one step closer to protecting the right of all Floridians to grow vegetables on their own property. The Florida Senate passed SB 82 by an overwhelming vote of 35-5. The Florida House is expected to consider an identical measure soon. If the bill becomes law, any local ordinance that expressly limits or prohibits growing vegetables on one’s own property would become “void and unenforceable.”
In 2013, the Institute for Justice (IJ) filed a lawsuit against the Village of Miami Shores, Fla. to challenge their prohibition on front-yard vegetable gardens. The lawsuit, brought by IJ on behalf of Miami Shores couple Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, sought to have the Village’s ordinance struck down as an unconstitutional violation of property rights. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Village and the Florida Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal. Last year, the Florida Senate introduced an identical bill to the one it passed today.
“This year’s bill provides another opportunity for the state of Florida to recognize that the peaceful, productive use of property is a right that this state takes seriously,” said IJ Attorney Ari Bargil, who represented Hermine and Tom in their battle against the Village. “It is now up to the House to ensure that these important rights are preserved not just for Hermine and Tom, but for all Floridians. I applaud the Senate for its work to quickly pass this meaningful reform, and I look forward to the day where no Floridian would worry about crippling fines for the offense of growing cabbage.”