Teacher Ordered to Remove Gardens, Deemed a Nuisance

Harvesting PeppersMemphis, Tennessee. Earlier this month, a math teacher from Memphis, Tennessee was ordered to remove his kitchen garden—as it was cited as a “public nuisance.” The garden is maintained by teacher Adam Guerrero and three neighboring students. On the site, the group “tend to an urban garden, keep bees, make vermicompost, produce biofuel and make soap with the byproducts of biofuel production,” from a news report on Tree Hugger earlier this week.

Grist also reported on the story, describing the environmental court that “ordered Guerrero to appear in court on Sept. 23 to show that he’s gotten rid of the ‘debris and personal property’ stored outside his home. Supposedly, a neighbor complained that Guerrero had violated city ordinances by failing to maintain “‘a clean and sanitary condition free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.'” The story was also covered on Kitchen Gardeners and Boing Boing.  A website called “Save Adam’s Garden” was created in response to the (ridiculous) citation.

The response has been overwhelming. Blogs and websites united to take a stand against the claim. A public petition was circulated and signed, and even a facebook page created.

On Friday, September 23rd, the Memphis Flyer reported that “after a social media outcry to the tune of thousands of supporters,” Guerrero gets to keep his garden—with some modifications. He has been instructed to keep his front garden trimmed, install mesh covers and fish to reduce the number of mosquitoes, and reduce the number of worm bins on site. In addition, the court recommends that Guerrero move much of his garden activity to an off-site vacant property, in order to encourage and even expand public community garden in Memphis.

Image from Save Adam’s Garden website. 

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