UPDATE on Veggie Garden legislation

by Bonnie Basham, Sarracenia Chapter

Last week, the House Bill (HB 145 by Elizabeth Fetterhoff, Deland) passed its first committee of reference. The bill was amended with a new definition of vegetable garden: A vegetable garden will now be defined as “a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated for human ingestion.” The bill declares it “in the best interest of the state to encourage the development of the sustainable cultivation of fruits and vegetables at all levels of production including personal consumption.”
The bill forbids local governments from passing or enforcing, ordinances which regulate vegetable gardens on residential properties. The bill does allow local ordinances regulating things like water restrictions during droughts. Thus, a local zoning ordinance prohibiting vegetable gardens in the front yards of homeowners would be unenforceable if the bills become law. In addition, any existing ordinances or regulations which regulate vegetable gardens will not be enforceable.
The House bill (HB 145) has two more committees in which it will be discussed and voted upon. Before it is voted upon by the full House of Representatives. The Senate bill (SB 82 by Rob Bradley, Clay, Marion and adjacent counties) has passed its first committee and has one more committee before it will be voted upon by the full Senate. Florida’s legislative session begins March 5 and concludes May 3. You can follow the action on these two bills as well as write your legislators in support of these bills at the following addresses:

Myfloridahouse.gov is the address of the Florida House of Representatives. Select: Representatives to find your representatives. Type in “145” in the “tracking” tab to follow the House bill as it makes its way through the House of Representatives.

Flsenate.gov is the address of the Florida Senate. Select “Senators” to find your senator. Open “Session bills” and type in “82” in the box entitled “bills” to follow the progress of the Senate bill.

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