Here’s a little midweek pick me up. A reminder that the prevailing culture of dependency we find ourselves in, doesn’t always win.
This little victory was won by Karl Tricamo of Ferguson Missouri. Here’s what he did.
Armed with a lawyer, he fought the board of Ferguson Missouri (a town of 21,000 in the eastern part of the state) and won temporary approval to keep his front yard garden. Here’s what the home’s garden looked like in July.
This vote put a temporary end to weeks of harassment by Code Enforcement personnel (via driveby stalking and community mailings that singled out Karl’s family as law breakers).
What did Karl do that was so wrong?
He wanted to turn his home into a productive asset. An asset that provides his family with economic resilience. Specifically, he had the audacity to take advantage of the land, water, and sunlight he owns to:
- Feed his family
- Improve his financial position
- Keep his family healthy by eating better and getting more exercise (by working in the garden).
What does the Town of Ferguson say in opposition to this?
Joe Schroeder, a member of the town board, sums it up with:
“I think that all of us on the board agreed that the garden is an eyesore. It goes against common sense, really, to put a garden in the front yard instead of the back.”
This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad.
Here’s a town where nearly 20% of its small population currently lives below the poverty line. A place that has an average family income of 1/2 of the national average. A place that could benefit, mightily, from local, resilient production of food, energy, water, as weall as artisan products.
Yet, this town is resisting any improvement. It wants to stop Karl from turning the postage stamp of a yard he owns into something that can improve his family’s economic position.
Sure, a small garden like this may seem pretty irrelevant in the larger scheme of things. However, for Karl’s family, it will make a big dent in both the family’s finances and the quality of their lives.
Hope Karl is able to keep winning in the future and that guys like Joe Schroeder will eventually get a clue.
We’re on the winning side (it’s just not evident yet),
PS: I’m a big believer that we have the innovative spirit, the capacity for hard work, and the thrifty ethic required to build a future that is not only more resilient than the one we have today, but better. Unfortunately, due to a prevailing culture of dependency, it may be more difficult than it has to be. Why? Many of our neighbors and local officials are still wedded to the idea that ever greater amounts of consumerism is the only way forward. The sorry truth is that consumerism has ALREADY failed as a social and economic theory. It hasn’t produced any economic and quality of life improvement for almost all of us in over 30 years! Worse, all you need to do is glance at the newspaper to see that the entire consumer fabric is coming apart under the strains of unpayable debt, wholesale financial corruption, and environmental catastrophe. S0, for those of you facing this type of backward thinking in your communities, keep fighting the good fight.