FL Attorney Says Growing Vegetables Not a Fundamental Right


By Brandon Turbeville

A new local controversy is brewing in South Florida surrounding yet another instance of local governments imposing fines on residents and persecuting them over maintaining gardens on their property.

After living in Miami Shores for 17 years, and growing vegetables in their front yard for the same amount of time, Tom Carroll and Hermine Ricketts were forced to dig up the garden in front of their home in 2014 when they were threatened by town officials with $50 a day fines if they did not. The threat of fines came only a few months after the Miami Shores Village Council passed a new zoning plan meaning that low-level bureaucrats wasted no time in fanning out amongst residential areas to uproot violators.

The couple is now suing on grounds that the ban on front yard gardens violates the Florida Constitution by imposing improper limits on private property rights as well as violating the equal protection clause. The couple is being represented by lawyers with Institute for Justice, a Libertarian non-profit organization that focuses on free speech and property rights among other issues.

See: City Forces Family To Destroy Their Vegetable Garden

Attorney Ari Bargil told circuit judge Monica Gordo, “were not saying you can do anything you want on your property, we are simply saying you can grow vegetables on your property and that is protected by the constitution.”

Bargil’s argument sounds perfectly reasonable, i.e. that the Constitution protects the right of an individual to grow gardens wherever they like on their property. But the politicians and bureaucrats in Miami Shores, however, are not exactly what one would consider reasonable. For instance, Richard Sarafan, argued that the new zoning rule was not irrational and that the couple’s yard should be covered with grass, sod or “living ground cover.” If they want a vegetable garden it should be in the back yard.

It’s not surprising that an attorney for Miami Shores wouldn’t find the zoning rule irrational. After all, he is making quite a bit of money from the argument. The fact that an attorney, politician, or bureaucrat would assume that they have the authority to tell a couple how and where they can have a garden on their own property is also not surprising. Neither is the fact that they would have the time or neurosis to do so.

See: Couple Fights To Bring Edible Gardens Back Into Orlando

What is surprising, however, is that Sarafan would argue that vegetable producing plants are not living ground cover. After all, he and his client were the ones that left “living ground cover” undefined.

Plants are living. They are on the ground. And they cover it.

Seems like Mr. Sarafan has caused himself to be in quite a pickle with his argument (we sincerely hope this pickle originated in the backyard, not the front). Thankfully, for Miami Shores, Sarafan’s detailed understanding of the Constitution is on their side.

“There certainly is not [a] fundamental right to grow vegetables in your front yard,” Sarafan said.


He actually said that.


At this point in the article, it is difficult to avoid resting my case and throwing up my hands in the “see” motion. But as a writer I also feel the need to continue as there may be some questions that have yet to be asked about this case.

First, does Mr. Sarafan understand what a fundamental right actually is?

Does he understand what the Constitution is?

Does he know what a vegetable is?

Does he know anything?

Did Mr. Sarafan take an extended vacation to practice law in North Korea and is still trying to acclimate himself to American law?

The answer is probably no on the latter.

Sarafan continued,

Aesthetics and uniformity are legitimate government purposes. Not every property can lawfully be used for every purpose.

Okay, maybe I spoke too soon. Aesthetics and uniformity are legitimate government purposes? What a beautiful world. Nothing sounds better than a world in which everything looks the same and is aesthetically pleasing to the government. It’s also a revolutionary approach of which Sarafan should inform the government. After all their legal battles and semantics to steal property from citizens in the past, they could have just used that “aesthetics and uniformity” clause. It’s so easy, really. It might not exist in the Constitution but so what? Sarafan and Miami Shores says it does, so we can just go with that.

See: Feds Raid Native American Tribal Lands, Seize And Destroy 30,000 Hemp Crops

But Sarafan is right about one thing: it is true that not every property can lawfully be used for every purpose. His own office is living proof of that. On this issue I would recommend three things: that Carroll and Ricketts not give up their fight, that Miami Shores immediately gives up theirs, and that someone immediately check on the legitimacy of Sarafan’s law degree.

This article (FL Attorney Says Growing Vegetables Not a Fundamental Right) can be republished under a Creative Commons license with  attribution to Brandon Turbeville and Natural Blaze.com.

Brandon Turbevillearticle archive here – is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies,Five Sense SolutionsandDispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 600 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

  • LAWD

    Good article, entertainingly written. Thank you.

  • Occam’s Razor

    lol. No, the fla ag did not ever say or write such a heinous, evil thing. I thought that is what crazy megalomaniacs do.

  • TellTheTruth-2

    I can see the day coming when even your home garden. Is gonna be against the law. … Bob Dylan … Union Sundown .. 1983.

  • Zaphod Braden

    Home gardens are Global Warming deterrents and therefore SACROSANCT under the State Religion of AWG. Any attempt to destroy or inhibit Home Gardens is an act of HERESY punishable by Burning at the Stake.

  • Rumplestiltskin

    If anyone is not man enough to tell that stupid SOB to STFU, I AM.



    You see my friends gaining a college education does not automatically make a person smart, it only means they “followed the program and made adequate grades”. A problem arises when these idiots blather their idiocy as if they have the law on their side. If anyone tells you, you cannot grow your own food, you should find a way to turn them into fertilizer.

  • Debra

    Don’t grow your own food get our food stamps instead and we’ll give you good GMOs!!! Hey, did you know you can buy seeds with food stamps and grow your own food?

  • Pop_Korn

    …..and the sheeple still claim this is the land of the free.

  • Bob Smith

    Local government does not have a “right” to stay in existence either.

  • Poke

    Is dis Tulip Bulb a graduate of Haavard Law School?? Remind da dude ya gotta pack lott sa wet manure round his sniffer. He needs ta smell de toad stools …

  • TellTheTruth-2


  • TellTheTruth-2


  • Jo Se

    All government always seeks to expand to become master over We The People. Like weeds seeking to take over a lawn, the battle to control the encroachment never ends and the encroaching problem must be eradicated with the strongest means possible.

  • David Swanson

    How bizarre. You can’t grow own food on your own property? It is time for people to organize and confront their elected officials and hold them accountable. The people are the true power and government was intended to serve the people not the other way around. Hold their feet to the fire or remove them. We must stop cowering to these people out of a sense of respect because if they act against the people they disrespect us. The rolls are reversed. If you act like a carpet, you will be walked on.

  • jazzfeed

    Another in-your-face example of the fact that no one actually OWNS any real property. “Ownership” of property is a delusory concept and this is yet another confirmation. “Eminent Domain” is another. “Property tax” is another. Get it? At the very least, this case screams the fact that government and citizens harbor two different definitions of “own” and why you should know what you’re doing when you “buy” property.
    Of course, it’s also another example of why the state of Florida is akin to a mental hospital with no doors.

  • jazzfeed

    Another in-your-face example of the fact that no one actually owns real property. “Ownership” of real property is a delusory concept—this case is just another confirmation.

    “Eminent Domain” is another.

    “Property tax” is another.

    At the very least, this case screams the fact that local government and their citizens harbor two different definitions of “own”. You should know exactly what you’re doing when you “buy” property and what your local government’s definitions of “buy” and “own” are.

    It’s also another instance of why the state of Florida is akin to a mental hospital with no doors.

  • paul crosley

    Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, Scene II, line 73…..”The first thing we do, lets kill all the lawyers”
    William Shakespeare.

  • Sarah Henning

    #IAMKRATOM #kratomsaveslives #KEEPKRATOMLEGAL

  • Esmae

    He is in no position to say what is and is not…

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