[permaculture] Man fights fines of $130, 000 for garden that others feel is an eye sore | Odd News - Yahoo News

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Thu Jan 9 13:12:51 EST 2014

Man fights fines of $130,000 for garden that others feel is an eye sore

Sean Law is proud of the natural garden that he has grown over the past few
years, but his neighbors are less than thrilled with the looks and effects
of what they see as a messy yard. According to the Orlando
in the past year Sean has amassed nearly $130,000 in Longwood, Florida
code-enforcement fines for his yard garden because of trash, debris, weeds
and overgrown grass. Sean told the station, “The city of Longwood’s been
fining me for a while. The basis in city ordinance for that is what’s
called the high grass and weeds ordinance and the debris, trash and debris

Sean explained, “This is an adaptation of natural farming, *shizen noho*.
We adapt it to a garden environment so it’s natural gardening.” The natural
farming method developed by Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer and
philosopher, is also known as “Do-Nothing Farming.” Mr. Law says that in
the method, grass is grown then allowed to die. Later diverse clay seed
balls are spread and the farmer sees what grows to identify what works well
in the environment.

Sean Law's front yard natural garden. (Orlando Sentinel)

The natural gardener has quite a diverse offering from his yard and has
grown arugula, pineapples, sugar cane, avocados, broccoli, watermelon, and
bananas. He even produces household items like luffa used as a scrub for
the body and dishes, soap nuts and soap berries he uses to clean his
clothes, and he uses beautyberry plants as an alternative to toilet paper.

Sean Law holds a luffa from his garden. (Orlando Sentinel)

Sean Law’s natural efforts to live off the land may be eco-friendly, but
fellow residents say that his methods cause foul odors and have led to a
pest problem, attracting snakes, rats, moles, fire ants and mosquitos to
the area. His next-door neighbor Bobbie Corbitt told WOFL Fox
"We have all kind of weird animals, rodents and stuff, and bugs. I have
bugs that I've never seen before come in my house." To which Mr. Law
responded, "There are ants in the world. I'm not God I didn't put ants in
the world." Another neighbor Kathy Ettman said, "If he wishes to live that
way, which is his choice, go to an area that accepts that. That means you
go out to ranch land."

Due to the violations Sean was slapped with a fine of $300 per day and a
lien was placed against his home. Sean fought the case in district court
but lost. His appeal was also unsuccessful. The gardener is pushing on and
said, “Right now a notice of appeal has just been filed through the Florida
Supreme Court.” He is waiting to see if his case is accepted and hopes for
a fair judgment, “…especially with regards to Florida-friendly landscaping
wherein it is written, local ordinances may not be written or so enforced
so as to prohibit a property owner from implementing Florida friendly
landscaping on his or her land.” He feels that the condition of his yard is
protected under the standards of the Florida-friendly landscaping law from
2009, which encourages homeowners to have yards which are chemical-free and
conserve water.


Still, Sean does not hold malice toward his neighbors, telling WOFL, "I
don't blame the people because people are tricked by the TV no offense to
you guys.” Commissioners in Longwood plan on discussing the case this week
and will potentially take further action.

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