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LA puts parkway rules on hold



August 19, 2013

LA City Council has, temporarily at least, stopped fining its residents for establishing vegetable gardens on the parkway (verge) outside their homes.

Ron Finlay

Ron Finlay

For several years, gardeners have been replanting these grassed areas with shrubs and flowering perennials and LA’s Bureau of Street Services has turned a blind eye. Until people starting putting in vegetable gardens, and then things turned nasty, with many gardeners being fined. The Parkway guidelines require all vegetation to be less than 36 inches (1m), non-invasive and not carrying sharp thorns or spines. But it seems vegetables were just not acceptable.

Ron Finley, well-known LA maverick, ‘gangsta gardener’ and TED talker was fined in 2011 for planting the parkway outside his home with vegetables.

“They’re worried about someone tripping over an eggplant,” Finley said of the city’s initial resistance to changing the rules. “Not tripping over the couches and the bed and the garbage or the condoms. They’re worried about an eggplant. I’m glad we got our priorities straight.”

LA’s City Council has unanimously passed a temporary suspension of the parkway restrictions unitl it comes up with a new list of approved plants. And presumably some botanically trained vegetable police.

You can read more of Ron Finlay’s guerilla parkway gardening here, or watch his great TED talk, where he explains how growing your own food is like printing your own money. And if you want to talk to him about it, you can come down to his garden and shovel while you talk.

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