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June 22, 2024

New Bill Would Protect Right To Garden In Illinois –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On February 10, 2021

Springfield, IL. (ECWd) –

From the Institute For Justice:

Late last week, Rep. Sonya Harper filed the Illinois Vegetable Garden Protection Act (HB 633), which would preserve and protect the right of all Illinoisans to “cultivate vegetable gardens on their own property, or on the property of another with the permission of the owner, in any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state.” The Act would protect the right to grow vegetables, as well as “herbs, fruits, flowers, pollinator plants, leafy greens, or other edible plants.” For many Illinoisans, this reform has been a long-time coming, as similar measures have come close to passage in prior sessions. A companion bill (SB 170) has also been introduced by Sen. David Koehler.

“I just want to grow my own food on my own property. In America, that really shouldn’t be such a controversial idea, and it certainly shouldn’t be illegal,” said Nicole Virgil, an Elmhurst resident whose efforts to grow vegetables in her rear yard have been repeatedly stymied by local officials. “I want to teach my kids the importance of self-sufficiency and self-reliance. I want them to understand and appreciate where food comes from. It’s time that our representatives enact reforms to protect my right to do that.”

If passed, Illinois would become a national leader in the local food movement, becoming just the second state to provide express protection for the right to grow one’s own food. In 2019, Florida enacted the nation’s first statewide Vegetable Garden Protection Act, which sprouted from a years-long legal battle the Institute for Justice fought on behalf of a Miami Shores couple that was forced to uproot their 17-year old vegetable garden, after the city banned vegetable gardens in front yards. The Florida and Illinois legislative reforms are part of IJ’s National Food Freedom Initiative, which promotes the ability of individuals to produce, procure and consume the foods of their choice.

“This bill strips local governments of the power to impose HOA-style prohibitions on an act of self-sufficiency in which humans have been engaged for thousands of years,” said IJ Attorney Ari Bargil. “Just about a year ago, as fears of the COVID-19 pandemic took hold nationwide, many Americans developed grave concerns about the weaknesses in our nation’s food-supply chain as grocery stores rationed purchases and shelves grew depleted. If we’ve learned anything from the past twelve months, it’s that the ability to grow food is not just a right—for many, it is a necessity. Passing this bill is an important step in the march for food freedom for all Americans.”


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  • Dave
    Posted at 21:04h, 10 February Reply

    So, its come to this here in dictatorial Illinois. We have to beg for constitutionally protected property rights.

    All men are by nature free and independent and have
    certain inherent and inalienable rights among which are life,
    liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights
    and the protection of property, governments are instituted
    among men,
    deriving their just powers from the consent of the
    governed. ~ (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

  • Sarah
    Posted at 21:32h, 10 February Reply

    OK, things have gotten more than a little control when the government feels the need to pass laws to protect my “rights” on my own property.

    • John Kraft
      Posted at 21:42h, 10 February Reply

      It is because certain local governments think they can control them

      • PK
        Posted at 11:50h, 11 February Reply

        Illinois Leaks reported on this bill when it came up around this time last year.

        It seemed like a localized concern/issue at that time and still does.

    • Dave
      Posted at 22:04h, 10 February Reply

      The Bill of Rights in the Illinois state constitution already does that. All HB633 can do is to water down the Illinois Bill of Rights. Because the Illinois Bill of Rights already protects us from all levels of govt abuse of our rights, our right to raise flower, veges, herbs, and fruit on our property

    Posted at 22:40h, 10 February Reply


  • Let the Kids Grow Their Vegetables
    Posted at 16:00h, 11 February Reply

    Yeah, some folks in Elmhurst got too big for their britches and went after some kids growing vegetables in their backyard . . . that was a great project for kids to learn how to grow vegetables and help out their neighbors (except for whomever complained). Instead, the kids got to learn how ridiculous some alderman and a mayor can become over private property.

    • Joanne Schaeffer
      Posted at 18:57h, 11 February Reply

      This goes to show the people just how ridiculous people can be. Legislators wasting good time on something like gardening as the state crumbles under their weight.

  • Cindy
    Posted at 22:14h, 11 February Reply

    As Dave said, this is redundant. I would support a bill that provides for stocks and pillories for anyone that thinks they can mess with God-given rights.

  • Larry Ferguson
    Posted at 16:41h, 12 February Reply

    All this stupidity is coming from Chicago. You know its our IL Capital!

  • Carol Davis
    Posted at 21:00h, 13 February Reply

    I know Nicole Virgil, the lady who pushed for this statewide law. She is an Elmhurst Illinois resident who has been working for years to keep her village from shutting down her gardening. In fact she spoke several times at our Tea Party group about private property rights. Nicole is a homeschool mom who uses the garden as a teaching tool for her kids as well as provisions for her family. She has been fighting a battle with the village of Elmhurst for years. They refused to allow her to have a hoop house (temporary greenhouse-type structure) so she could get a jumpstart on the growing season. She discovered that many municipalities put restrictions like that on private residences. Yes, it’s very sad we have to have a law like this, but many villages were becoming tyrants about controlling what people grew in their own yards. This bill should reign them in.

    • PK
      Posted at 23:25h, 13 February Reply

      Ms. Davis, would you please describe where this issue is occurring? For example, the International Building Code allows temporary structures for no more than 180 days. So if a municipal code cites the IBC in their building code ordinance, then a hoop house (temporary structure) would be allowed for 180 days. What “many municipalities” put restrictions on hoop houses beyond the 180 days allowed by the IBC? 180 days seem adequate for a temporary hoop house. I have not check but would suspect that Elmhurst city code would cite the IBC.

  • bbb
    Posted at 04:42h, 16 February Reply

    OMG!!!When does the tyrannical,nitpicking end?Ive heard of these issues in CA also.It’s your freaking property.What Constitutional or state Constitutional law is Elmhurst basing their harassment upon?Gardeners have the legal Right to Life.Food gives lifbe.They have the Right to Liberty.Freedom to grow or not grow nonillegal stuff and the liberty to Not be forced to buy junk groceryfood.They have the Right to pursuit of happiness.Gardeners are very happy gardening.Regarding hoophouses,they are Not a domicile,storage for anything hazardous or dangerous,and they themselves are not a hazard.Support this bill,but sad day in humanity when basic human rights are being hacked away left and right.Learn the laws,Foia,Government Sunshine Act,The Hatch Act,The Logan Act,get a lawyer or use free legalservices and online resources.

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