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Code Enforcement Busybodies Fine Georgia Man $5,200 for Growing Too Many Vegetables in His Backyard

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This week, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine began a city-by-city letter-writing campaign to lawmakers in Washington, DC, Miami, Memphis, Houston, Detroit, and Los Angeles, urging a complete ban on fast-food restaurants.

The PCRM (an acronym frighteningly close to Tipper Gore's PMRC, whose members were certain rock-music lyrics, not Chicken McNuggets, were the root of all evil) is convinced that it will save untold numbers of lives by keeping burgers and fries out of the hands of the public.

“There is a time for education and there is also a time for economic incentives and pressure, and fast-food chains promote meat, cheese, sugary sodas, and precious little else,” said Neal Barnard, president of the PCRM.

So, what to do? I suppose people with ample space could simply grow their own food at home.

Well...not exactly. At least not if you happen to live in DeKalb County, Georgia.

It seems that Steve Miller (no, not that Steve Miller), a landscaper residing in a town within county lines, has been fined $5,200 by the DeKalb County Code Enforcement office for growing too many vegetables in his backyard. Turns out it's illegal to grow more than a certain number of vegetables in land zoned for residential use.

Miller successfully petitioned for a rezoning, but the county began prosecuting the old charges, saying he was technically in violation before the variance was issued.

What Miller didn't eat himself (his garden includes celery, tomatoes, lettuce, Swiss chard, beets, cilantro, carrots, and cabbage), he would give away, or sell at local farmers' markets.

"It's not my source of income, it's my passion," he said. "If it were my main source of income, I'd have to sell my house."

Look, buddy -- save the excuses, would ya? We all know how dangerous it can be to have more cilantro growing behind your house than local ordinances allow.
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