Vegetable gardens in The Villages could be new challenge for Community Standards

Vegetable gardens in front lawns in The Villages could be a new challenge for Community Standards.

A bill that would ensure Florida homeowners would have the right to grow vegetables in their front yards is currently on the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Florida House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this month, about six weeks after the Florida Senate approved the same measure.

The bill was inspired by a South Florida resident who defied an order to remove his vegetable garden or face a $50 a day fine. The homeowner went to court, but an appeals court upheld the ordinance. Thus, the legislature opted to step in.

Supporters of the measure contend government shouldn’t interfere with the rights of homeowners who want to grow food on their own property. Opponents argue the state shouldn’t interfere with local governments.

The measure, if signed by the governor, could pose an interesting problem in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.

Valerie Fuchs, legal counsel to community development districts in The Villages, is currently examining the potential impact it could have in this deed-restricted community.

“As soon as the word gets out, you’ll have people who’ll want front-yard gardens,” predicted Community Development District 2 Chairman Bryan Lifsey.

He said the The Villages Grown, a hydroponic growing operation that will be producing locally sourced foods, has been spurring interest in narrowing the food-to-table gap.

“You could have a cornfield in your front yard. It would be pretty unsightly,” said CDD 2 Supervisor Barton Zoellner.

Fuchs said she will continue to monitor the status of the bill and bring back information on its impact in The Villages, if it is signed by the governor.