Friday, January 18, 2019

"I found my passion here. I wish I had found it and joined earlier" - interview with Tayler Figueroa of Pine Lily Chapter


Tayler Figueroa is the Chapter Representative for the Pine Lily Chapter. She lives in Kissimmee with her husband and two young boys. I interviewed her at her house on January 10, 2019.

VA: When did you become an FNPS member and how did you hear about FNPS?

TF: I started a vegetable garden in the spring, and I noticed there were very few bees in my garden. I started researching how to help the native pollinators, and planting native wildflowers kept coming up. I used FNPS’s plant search and when I saw that you could get discounts on native plants by joining FNPS, I was excited, but I balked at the $35 per month membership fee. I would need to buy a lot of plants, but I thought it would be worth it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it costs much less to be a member than I thought.

VA: Why do you stay involved with FNPS?

TF: Once you start and you realize what’s at stake… you can’t give in. Wait, let me back up and really answer the questions. Once I was hooked, I realized what my passion was. It’s native plants. I didn’t know it in college, I tried a bunch of things and they weren’t it. The local involvement is really important. You meet the people that area in the chapter and make that personal connection and you feel like you want to help. Even with no ecological/botanical education I still wanted to help in any way I could. I realized how much help Pine Lily needed. I keep involved even though it’s exhausting. I want to teach my kids, too.

VA: How did you get involved in chapter leadership?

TF: I got my [membership] card in the mail and was waiting for something else to happen so I called Karina, Pine Lily’s President, because nobody was calling me. So, I called Admin Services (the main phone number for FNPS) and asked for a local contact, and they gave me her number.

VA: What does Pine Lily Chapter specialize in? What’s your thing?

TF: Pine Lily used to specialize in plant sales, but we’re a small Chapter now so we’re still finding our focus. If it were up to me, I would like to specialize in plant rescues and restoration.

VA: What does your chapter mascot, the pine lily (Lilium catesbaei), mean to you?

TF: It’s significant because it’s both beautiful and threatened. T&E (threatened and endangered) species were my native plant hook. It’s exciting to see a pine lily in the wild.

VA: What are your plans for Pine Lily Chapter for 2019?

TF: You know I’m all about the milkweed propagation. I’m obsessed with milkweed. [note: as we all very well should be] I’m looking for way to make a difference in my county because I grew up here. I didn’t even know we had milkweed in Osceola County and we have rare species like Curtiss’s Milkweed (Asclepias curtissii) here. I want to find them and map them and maybe one day get the opportunity to grow them.

VA: What are your native plant goals for 2019?

TF: I just got my nursery business registered (Velvet Leaf Natives) and I want to increase the availability of natives in Osceola County. I need to keep learning so I know what I want to study in the future.

VA: How has the Florida Native Plant Society made your life better?

TF: I found my passion here. I wish I had found it and joined earlier.

VA: What have you accomplished that you’re proud of within FNPS?

TF: [Tayler initially tries to insist that she hasn’t done anything, then I remind her about the plant rescue that she orchestrated of the State Threatened leafless beaked orchid (Sacoila lanceolata) in Kissimmee] Ok, so I’m pretty proud of organizing my first plant rescue.

Interview by Valerie Anderson, Director of Communication and Programming

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Legislative Delegation season is here


SOME COUNTIES’ LEGISLATIVE DELEGATIONS HAVE ALREADY MET, MANY OTHERS ARE COMING UP THIS MONTH

by Eugene Kelly, Sue Mullins, and Valerie Anderson

WHAT

A Legislative Delegation is an office within (most) county governments and the group of state-level legislators that represent that county. This group holds public meetings once a year in the Board of County Commissioners chambers or some other public meeting place. This meeting is in the winter, between December and February. Members of the public who wish to speak must submit a completed Public Hearing Form well before the meeting, although in most cases citizens can show up and file a card on the spot to speak to the delegation.

This Legislative Delegation meeting provides local constituents with a rare opportunity to speak directly with the state lawmakers who represent them in Tallahassee. Local politicians often attend these events, so they will hear your concerns, too.

WHY

Protecting native plants and their habitats in Florida requires action by our state legislature. Attached is the schedule of the state’s remaining meetings for 2019. Fill out and submit a speaker’s card if the deadline hasn’t already passed. Speak as a citizen, not as a representative of the Florida Native Plant Society.


MAJOR POINTS TO EMPHASIZE

  1. Restore Florida Forever funding.
    Let them know that when you voted in support of Amendment 1, you intended for a large portion of the funds to be used to conserve land. Annual funding for Florida Forever should at least equal the $300 million that was allocated before funding was cut in response to the recession. This amount is not cost-prohibitive given that annual Amendment 1 funding exceeds $750 million.
  2. Manage Florida’s conservation lands responsibly.
    The land we have already conserved represents a valuable investment and proper management is necessary to protect our investment. Management shouldn’t be short-changed by inadequate staffing or funding. Funding should be sufficient to implement the management plans that have been adopted for each property. 
  3. Adopt a comprehensive approach to protection of our water resources. Such an approach must account for the water needs of our springs, rivers, estuaries, and other water-dependent natural systems.
  4. Florida’s extreme vulnerability to sea level rise must be recognized as an immediate and long-term threat to our environment, economy and groundwater resources. It demands a comprehensive statewide response to conserve our beaches, coastal wetlands and seagrasses, and the fisheries that depend on them.

WHEN

Thursday Jan 17, 2019

  • St. Lucie County, Fort Pierce, 9:00AM-12:00PM, link | map
  • Palm Beach County (Joint Workshops), Jupiter 12:45PM-5:15PM link | map
  • Putnam County, Palatka 1:00PM-4:00PM link | map
  • Osceola County, Kissimmee 9:00AM-12:30PM link | map

Friday Jan 18, 2019

  • Okeechobee County, Okeechobee 9:00AM-10:30AM link | map
  • Highlands County, Sebring 12:00PM-2:00PM map

Monday Jan 28, 2019

  • Palm Beach County Belle Glade 2:00PM-5:00PM link | map 
  • Orange County, Orlando, 9:30PM-6:00PM link | map

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Little Garden-in-the-Sand

by Carolyn Gregsak, Mangrove Chapter


Just before Thanksgiving 2018, Bonnie Moore and I headed down to the tip of Gasparilla Island. We were on our way to meet Christine and John Holyland at the native plant garden in the State Park. I had heard about the garden from a few members of the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) - the “Little Garden-in-the-Sand” or as Christine Holyland sometimes calls it, “The Little Triangle Garden”.
The garden was initiated by Sharon McKenzie, Director of Barrier Island Park Society (BIPS). She is a strong advocate for native plants and energetic in her support of the environment. Through BIPS, she appeals for grant money and donations. Her efforts have helped with hurricane clean up, repairs, boardwalk and dock replacement, as well as renovation of the lighthouse. Her duties cover Gasparilla Island, Cayo Costa, Don Pedro, and Stump Pass.
The native plant garden was approved a year after Sharon’s plan was submitted, with the stipulation that plants were to be purchased from only two native plant nurseries: Laurel Schiller’s All Native Plants Nursery in Sarasota and John Sibley’s All Native Garden Nursery in Ft Myers. New plants still can not be introduced without state approval.
Sharon had her support people ready. Denny Girard, Al Squires, Jane Wallace, and Linda Schilke from the Mangrove Chapter assisted in choosing plants and contributing advice on planting. The Boca Grande Women’s Club provided funds to buy the plants from Laurel Schiller’s Sarasota nursery. The work was started and finished on Tuesday, March 4th, 2008 by an enthusiastic group of Mangrove Chapter gardeners. The garden was mulched, but no amendments were added to the soil. The Park Rangers discovered vintage plant identification signs buried in a musty corner of a basement space and they were placed in their appropriate locations. Both summer and winter helpers were needed to get the garden established. Mangrove Chapter members cared for the garden during those first summer months and the Boca Grande Garden Club tended the garden during the November, 2008- May, 2009 season.
Photo by Sharon McKenzie. L-R: John & Christine Holyland, Phil Parham, Ellen Richter, Merrill & Barb Horswill, Rich and Sue Freeman plant the Little Garden-in-the-Sand at Gasparilla Island State Park March 4, 2008.

The garden is in the form of an almost perfect isosceles triangle, situated behind the building that houses the restrooms. A walkway runs between the building and the garden. Everyone visiting the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum uses the walkway. The northern and southern edges of the triangle measure approximately 35 feet long; the eastern side abuts the parking lot for about 18 feet. The tip of the triangle points westward toward the Gulf of Mexico.
It is a harsh ecology of sand dunes, storm surges, and near constant winds off the Gulf. In September 2017, Hurricane Irma swept away the 8 foot high dunes along the western shore of the park, leaving the western corner of the garden bathed in sea water for nearly a week. Plants and the wooden stakes supporting the identification signs were rotting under water. The Gaillardia, Scorpionstail and Beach Sunflower were destroyed, and the dark, rambling lower branches of the Varnishleaf were left bare.
Photo by Carolyn Gregsak. L-R: John and Christine Holyland and Bonnie Moore visit the Garden-in-the-Sand November 21, 2018.

This day in November, however, the sun shone warm and a gentle breeze shifted through the air, while Bonnie and I toured the little garden-in-the-sand, listening to Christine and John tell the history and joys of this singular space. They were waiting for us under the shade of the gnarly old Ficus tree (Ficus aurea). Whether or not, the tree is actually aged or not, is truly up for debate. Its nature is to wind and curl around itself or a nearby tree. This Ficus has been twisted and turned around itself by the winds off the Gulf and oversees the northeast corner of the garden, while giving refuge to a Whisk Fern that has tucked itself in the lower spaces of the knotted trunk. Two Corkystem Passion vines have planted themselves in the sand at the base of the tree. Several more Corkystems are beginning to twine up the fence that separates the garden from the parking area. Growing along the northern edge are White Indigoberry, Seaside Goldenrod, Seaoats, and newly-planted Gaillardia.
Beach Sunflowers are once again filling in the western tip of the triangle with their brilliant yellow blooms. Native Lantana, Beauty Berry, and Beach Creeper grow along the walkway at the southern edge. Coontie plants are growing on the opposite side of the walkway, which is shaded by the restroom building. They are older native residents of the space, planted prior to the garden. Varnishleaf, Buttonwood, and a small, but determined Joeweed fill in the center area of the garden.
It’s been over 12 months since Irma passed through, and new leaves are sprouting on the lower branches of the Varnishleaf. Christine is excited to see its recovery. “It’s coming back in a big way!” she exclaims. And the curious Ficus, expressing all the character of a seemingly ancient being, bears a few late autumn berries. The original mulch turned to powdery duff long ago and, now, the garden is mulched by the natural debris dropped from the plants themselves or brought in by the wind.
Since the garden was first planted ten years ago, Christine and John have continued to tend it, watering, weeding and trimming. When we last spoke with her, Sharon told us of her plans for a native butterfly garden that will most likely be completed by the time you read this article. It will be located on the north side of the Gasparilla Island Rear Range Light, the first lighthouse on the right before you reach the State Park.
The little triangle garden seems to have acquired several different names, and now I’ve tagged it with yet one more - ”The Little-Garden-in-the-Sand”. The ground at the tip of the Island has no humus, nothing decaying to hold it in place. Buffeted by wind and waves off the Gulf of Mexico, parched by a tropical sun, plant debris turns to a powdery duff that blends with crushed shells and grit. The existence of plants growing in it relies on sustenance from minerals in the sand, moisture in the air, and the potential to maintain stability. Their delicate root systems seem to have evolved to hold true with ease. Perhaps, it’s a kind of resilience, too, that holds them in place. There are those, who, like Christine and John Holyland, Sharon McKenzie, and many others, who support and respect the area’s fragile ecology and what is able to grow and survive in it. They keep true to their mark as well, sustaining an ecological partnership that holds within itself a kind of constancy and resilience.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

"You can’t just sit at home and whine about it:" Interview with Alex Farr, President of Sea Oats Chapter (St. Augustine)

Alex Farr, President of the Sea Oats Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society

Sea Oats was, until recently, a small, struggling chapter that wasn't holding regular meetings. When asked why she did jumped in to lead the chapter, she said, "No one else wanted to do it. I was like, damn it, let's do it!"

Alex has been a Florida Native Plant Society member for five years, she was working in general horticulture when she saw a tiny little notice in the newspaper for a native plant meetup group, so she joined. She quickly learned about native plant landscaping and soon joined St. Augustine Beach's Beautification Advisory/Tree Board. Three years later she has transitioned three city landscapes from non-native to native and is the Vice-Chair of the Board!

Initially, the leadership at the time put Alex in charge of the Facebook page, which was essential in keeping her engaged in the chapter. Chapters, take note.
Past presidents Michael Bowles and Eric Powell chat in the garden.

I asked her what her chapter's thing was. What are they into?

They got a grant from the Wildflower Foundation and they're using it to create a native garden on a historical site leased to the Council on Aging next to the Council's Memorial Garden. They had to get the city and county and archaeologists to sign off on the garden because it’s on a historic site. They found some tile and nails Alex thought was exciting, but the archaeologists were pretty blase about it. The archaeologists gave them the go-ahead but they couldn’t plant anything with a deep root system. They've had to rebuild after two hurricanes and finally Alex has two regular volunteers to help her with the garden.
Alex Farr, Eric Powell, Michael and the Flagler College volunteers in the garden
The chapter is also big into environmental activism, but they don't toot their own horn in any way. No selfies at commission meetings, no posting of position statements, nothing. It's nice to be so humble but we've gotta work on that.

Alex has a few goals for next year:

Recruit younger members. Raise the profile of the chapter. Have regular meetings again. Get the garden rehabbed. Get involved with elected officials in counties and cities. Have regular plant walks again. Understand what's going on with the mangroves moving in.

I asked her how FNPS has improved her life, but really what's she learned from FNPS has been alternately empowering and annoying.

Alex: "In some ways I have more knowledge but it just causes me to be annoying to my neighbors and people in Home Depot who are planting the wrong thing. I’m really into wildlife and the native plants are important to keep our wildlife going. I have to be patient and realize it takes more time. I guess the thing with the native plant society is learning the ways I can use the knowledge, how to navigate the channels of officials during city and county committees to get something I want to get done. You can’t just sit at home and whine about it."

Check out photos from their latest field trip to Moses Creek Conservation Area on Flickr.

by Valerie Anderson

Thursday, December 13, 2018

*rescheduling pending* Care to help a rare plant species with your loppers and hand saw?



Etoniah Rosemary (Conradina etoniah) is a narrow range endemic mint species only known from Etoniah Creek State Forest and private land adjacent to the Forest (Figure 1). Dunn’s Creek Rosemary (C. cygniflora), an additional narrow range endemic mint species, was once considered the same species but further research determined it is a distinct species which occurs in roughly the same region.
Figure 1. Etoniah Rosemary (Conradina etoniah)
In areas where fire has been excluded populations of these mint species are declining. These populations would benefit from small-scale hand removal of shrubs near individual plants in areas that will not be burned or mowed. This involves cutting and removing sapling woody species like Sand Live and Laurel Oaks, Crooked Wood, etc. with loppers, hand saws, Root Jacks, etc..

This work is to be done in Florida Scrub in wintertime, so will be sunny, windy, and perhaps cold and dry. Volunteers will need to bring sunglasses/eye protection (for abundant, pokey Scrub plants), hat, work gloves, closed toed shoes (tennis shoes are fine), and appropriate clothing to guard against abundant briars, cacti, stinging/biting insects, Poison Ivy, Stinging Nettle, and Saw Palmettos. This will be a good workout in a truly beautiful place. Any amount of time will help the plant immensely; older plants will increase flowering and fruit production and seeds in the seedbank will increase germination from the increased sunlight, as a direct result of your work.

If you're interested in volunteering please let your chapter president and Todd Angel know and bring loppers, mattocks with cutting edge (not pick), hand saws, or other tools to remove small to medium sized saplings.

This workday is being coordinated by Todd Angel, Conservation Chair, and Michael Jenkins, Biologist, Florida Forest Service.

08:00 start time February 22-23, 2019
These workdays are cancelled and are being rescheduled.
Etoniah Creek State Forest
Contact: conservation@fnps.org

Friday: Web Event | Facebook Event
Saturday: Web Event | Facebook Event


Announcement written by Todd Angel and posted by Valerie Anderson.




Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Prehistoric Broward: Three Jurassic Ferns

Before we get to the Jurassic ferns, step back with me in time and space for a moment to imagine the gradual and chaotic development of life on earth. We don’t yet know much about the beginning. During 2018 the NASA Curiosity rover provided more evidence of water on Mars and, importantly, organic molecules of the types that make life on earth. That isn’t yet scientific proof for prior life on Mars because complex “organic” molecules can be created chemically without life. We will have to wait to learn more about the story of life’s origins on earth and perhaps Mars.
Stromatolites, Exuma Land and Sea Park
Bahamas National Parks
From the fossil record, we know that Stromatolites, a living cyanobacteria, first appeared on earth roughly 3.5 billion years ago. They still live and grow relatively nearby (off the Exuma islands of the Bahamas). Stromatolites produce oxygen and slowly changed earth’s atmosphere, but nothing is simple in science or a good murder mystery. The earth has been through many atmospheric changes and five prior mass extinctions. Now is a good time for humans and other mammals to thrive and breathe, but it has not always been so. Let us not ruin that.
The blue atmosphere (think oxygen) as seen from
the International Space Station



This long view of life on earth (3.5 billion years for the stromatolites and 350,000 years for Homo sapiens) may help us realize how new we are, as a species, on the landscape. Imagine how much change, chaos, tenaciousness, has occurred and how many species lived and died and are only known to us through fossils, amber, and ever more sophisticated science that reveals tidbits of this long past.
Some of the plants now living around us are recent, either anomalies of their parent plants or just moved in from elsewhere. No plant in Broward has lived in the same spot where we find it now for more than roughly 75,000 years (somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 years). That was when the ocean receded from South Florida for the last time and until the present day. For perspective, the Pyramids of Giza are 4,500 years old.
During the last glaciation, about 20,000 years ago, the poles were heavily covered with ice and the ocean was much lower than now. Broward was, of course, exposed and in fact the Florida peninsula was something like three times wider. Our Broward coastline is steep beyond the beaches where the Gulf Stream now kisses Broward with warmth. So even then, when the ocean was low, our coastline was only slightly further east. Most of the then-extended Florida landscape was to the west and far, far beyond Naples. I imagine a gently sloping landscape to a much smaller Gulf of Mexico.
Pine Fern, Anemia adiantifolia
Photo: James Johnson 2014
The climate then, 20,000 years ago, would have been much different and, therefore, the plant life, too. Saber toothed cats, mammoths, mastodons, and sloths were then in Florida until their extinction about 10,000 years ago. People were evidently near Tallahassee 14,500 years ago, according to recent archeological discovery.  The evolution of the landscape and many ecosystems over the past 10,000 years in South Florida would make fascinating research and telling.
In the time since the sea receded from Broward, about 75,000 years ago, we can image a very complex and chaotic history with a relatively gradual climate change. Plants populate from the Caribbean, South America, Mexico, the Gulf coast, and from the temperate north (the US Eastern Seaboard). Species die out. Other species adapt to changes. More species keep arriving. Anomalies, genetic errors, plants different from their parents, are born here and most die, but a few persist to become our endemic species, different than any other species that ever existed on earth before. Some genera that migrate to South Florida had existed on land elsewhere for millions of years. Three fern genera that had existed on earth for about 200 million years found home here, too.
Cinnamon Fern, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum (Osmundaceae)
On our most recent field trip with the Dade Chapter near Turner River Unit in Big Cypress, Elizabeth and I saw the somewhat common Pine Fern, Anemia adiantifolia (Anemiaceae), the photo above, but she remarked about its two spore spikes. That got me thinking about two other South Florida ferns with spore spikes, Cinnamon Fern, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum (Osmundaceae), and Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis (Osmundaceae). Osmundaceae is in a different phylogenic Order than the Family, Anemiaceae, but all three are related to genera that existed during the Jurassic. Check  Cinnamon Fern origins and Royal Fern origins for more details. The Royal Fern family may trace origins back to the older Triassic era, but I am in no position to quibble the eras.
Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis (Osmundaceae)
Photo: Alan Cressler
According to research by Paulo Labiak, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil, “Anemiaceae [The Pine Fern family] is one of the most ancient extant fern families, with fossils known since the Jurassic.” The family, Anemiaceae, is represented by the single genus, Anemia, and has about 115 living species distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical world. The phylogeny (evolutionary history) is, of course, complex and inevitably incomplete, but characterized by having sporangia with “subapical annulus and striate tetrahedral spores.” I would need a microscope and a little experience to confirm (smile). Roughly speaking, our Pine Fern, Anemia adiantifolia, has spore packets on those spore spikes that Elizabeth noticed that are characteristic of the genus, Anemia, presumably back to the Jurassic period, 200 million years ago.
Look for and protect these three ancient ferns in Fern Forest, Hillsborough Pineland, Pond Apple Slough, Miramar Pineland, Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area, Doris Davis Forman Wilderness Preserve, Coconut Creek Maple Swamp, Tree Tops Park, Secret Wood Nature Center and other places (even unprotected roadside and private property). Native nurseries sell Royal Fern and, less often, Cinnamon Fern. I know one person in Broward who is growing Pine Fern, but has no babies yet. Even if harder to cultivate, we should try to grow Pine Fern for its protection and our interest and enjoyment. Please just never take plants or their reproductive parts from the wild. We are too many and they are too few. We can obtain legally-acquired plants, seed, or spores from plants in cultivation, if we look hard enough and ask other responsible enthusiasts.

It would be reckless science for me to assume that spore spikes are a fern characteristic with ancient origins (a fact I haven’t studied), but in this case my hunch was apparently right. All three Broward ferns have very ancient origins. The notion of “living fossils” is a simplified concept not entirely accurate because plants continue to evolve over the eons splitting off into new variations and species along the way. However, the featured photo in this eNews header of a Jurassic fern fossil shows how remarkably similar Cinnamon Fern is to its Jurassic ancestor. A living fossil isn't far off the mark. To my mind and heart, it is very cool to look at these living ferns with a lot of respect and try to imagine them in ancient forests and habitats where dinosaurs thumped and dined.
Jurassic Osmundaceae Fossil (left) Cinnamon Fern (right)A magnificently preserved Jurassic fossil cross-section (left) compared with a modern Cinnamon Fern, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum (right). Even minute cell nucleoli are preserved in this 200 million year old fossil. Read about this fossil from Korsaröd, Sweden, here.
by Richard Brownscombe, President and Newsletter Editor for the Broward Chapter, posted by Valerie Anderson, Director of Communication

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Fighting over front yard gardens, wild native plants, and you

You may recall the fight between two gardeners and the Village of Miami Shores in 2016[1]. The two gardeners were growing vegetables in their front yard which violated the Village's zoning code Sec. 536 (5): "Vegetable gardens are permitted in rear yards only."[2]

The case almost made it to the Florida Supreme Court[3] but the justices refused to hear it[4]. They were represented by attorney Ari Bargill of the non-profit Institute for Justice[5]. Florida State Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) has taken up their cause this session, filing SB 82: Vegetable Gardens last week.

Relevance to Native Plant Enthusiasts

Ordinances restricting gardens in front yards reflect a reliance on outdated standards of landscaping that favor manicured green lawns that are ecologically sterile and provide little habitat for native bees, butterflies, and birds.  Ordinances and zoning codes restricting ecologically or nutritionally beneficial landscaping are often justified by "aesthetics", intimating that growing plants in your front yard for anything other than their ornamental value can be restricted by overzealous local governments.

Many of our members are native plant enthusiasts and grow native plants in their front yards to benefit native pollinators and birds as we, Xerces Society[6], and National Audubon Society[7] recommend to address our worldwide invertebrate decline[8][9]. Restricting the cultivation of plants in front of a house to those that serve no purpose other than to decorate is regressive. This arbitrary restriction enforces harmful norms that equate high property values with expensive, lifeless lawns that provide no food for people or pollinators.

Further research

Many of the least-protected plants in the world are not listed as threatened or endangered and are used for food, according to a new study published in the journal Ecological Indicators. Most food crops grown in Florida are not native, however, there are numerous wild plant species that are foraged for food, fiber, medicine, and decoration here in Florida and throughout the US and the world[10].

Growing heirloom vegetables and herbs that are suited to your area contributes to crop biodiversity, particularly if you save your seeds and replant them the next season. Additionally, growing native plants that are the wild relatives of crop plants maintains that important biodiversity that is highly sought-out when breeding disease resistance into domesticated food crops.

Conclusion

Local governments are currently allowed to restrict your ability to grow useful plants in your front yard. Senator Rob Bradley's bill would prevent local governments from restricting your right to grow edible plants in your front yard. If you support the premise of this bill, you can thank Senator Bradley and contact the Senators that represent you to encourage this bill through to the Governor's desk.

[1] Ovalle, David. 2016. Court upholds Miami Shores ban on veggie gardens. Miami Herald.
[2] Miami Shores Village, FL Zoning Code. Accessed 2018-11-27
[3] Fox35Orlando Staff. 2017. Supreme Court asked to rule on front yard garden ban. Accessed 2018-11-27.
[4] News Service of Florida. 2018. Florida Supreme Court turns down Miami-Dade vegetable garden case. Accessed 2018-11-27
[5] Institute for Justice. 2017. Florida Appellate Court Upholds Ban on Front-Yard Vegetable Gardens. Accessed 2018-11-27.
[6] Xerces Society. Bring Back the Pollinators Campaign. Accessed 2018-11-27.
[7] Krupp, Lexi. 2018. Yards With Non-Native Plants Create 'Food Deserts' for Bugs and Birds. National Audubon Society.
[8] Schwagerl, Christian. 2016. What's Causing the Sharp Decline in Insects, and Why It Matters. Yale Environment 360.
[9] Marchese, Halle and van Hoose, Natalie. 2018. Florida monarch butterfly populations have dropped 80 percent since 2005. Florida Museum.
[10] Mattson, Sean. 2018. Wild coffee plants, Christmas trees and chocolate's tree are surprisingly poorly protected. CIAT.

by Valerie Anderson, Director of Communications and Programming