Wednesday, November 28, 2012


After a petition, a week of media coverage, and a massive amount of support, the City of Orlando Chief Planner and Sustainability Director scheduled a meeting with us in our organic garden on November 16th, 2012.

Consequently, our Patriot Garden and many existing front yard gardens will NOT be acceptable to the City of Orlando as is.  More than likely we will be required to screen our Patriot Garden from sight with an approved fence. 

FOOD should not be confused with aesthetic landscape.   Our Patriot Garden produces real value, not perceived value.  Our Patriot Garden grows a human necessity that contributes to our budget rather than an aesthetic grass yard that drains from it.

We cannot afford expensive aesthetic upgrades to our attractive Patriot Garden.  We will not be able to comply with Codes (not an HOA) based on vanity and conformity.  Furthermore, we will do everything possible to stop the City of Orlando from requiring fencing out neighbors and community from our front yard Patriot Garden.  Increasing the prohibitive costs and creating more impacts to the planet’s resources is not the goal of sustainability.

The City of Orlando needs to understand a complete Code change that ensures affordability to all residents is necessary.  The Patriot Garden is a key step to ensuring the City of Orlando progresses to become the “Greenest City in America.”  The greatest Freedom you can give someone is the Freedom to know they will not go hungry.

Thank you for your continued support.  God Bless. 

       Jason & Jennifer Helvenston


  1. good for you for what you are doing! i hope you will keep us updated from this blog; i will check back often, and i have added a link to your blog on mine. also, i have updated my letter with a paragraph about your situation. fight the good fight! all the best- julie bass

  2. People, cities, USA, WAKE UP! In WWII it was patriotic to take of YOURSELF and feed your family with victory gardens! This couple is reducing dependence on foreign oil (their food does not have to be shipped from S. America) reducing medical costs (less food poisoning and healtheir bodies) and feeding themselves (no dependence on social programs)
    Yet, they would be better citizens by growing useless grass and spraying it with carcinogens that cause cancer, and using petroleum and creating exhaust by mowing it?

    Dear world, you are batshit crazy. Please leave these patriotic, hardworking, healthy, and model citizens alone and go build a park or a community garden somewhere, mmmkay? And to the Joneses who are having problems with how it looks- tend to your own backyard.

  3. I wonder, would a petition help? seems to offer a platform for collecting thousands of signatures...I first saw them on Facebook and have signed several petitions.


  4. Mother Earth News:

  5. We pray for your success in fighting an arbitrary and outdated code. We ALL need to get involved in every battle that tries to take away our rights to do what we want with our property. God speed.

    ps. and a fence around our front garden would limit sunlight and therefore hinder production, so not only is it costly, it's counter-productive.

  6. Wow. As an organic grower in Canada I can not for the life of me fathom the rational behind the enforcement of this silliness. US citizens have the inalienable right to bear arms but not feed themselves from their own organic garden on land they legally possess? So by extension would it be illegal to protect your illegal garden with the use of a legal firearm? Wow. Just wow.

  7. The City of Orlando is indeed being silly about this.

    My wife and I have a front-yard garden. We've worked to keep it attractive as well as productive. Among the things we've done are:

    - plant flowers around the edges. Many flower types are edible. Some are effective in repelling certain pests.

    - Use clover or a similar plant that adds nitrogen as a ground cover.

    - Arrange the plants so that large stretches of bare dirt are not so visible.

    We thought up some of these ideas ourselves. Later, we found a book called 'Edible Landscaping', by Rosalind Creasy. It has lots of ideas about how to do front yard gardens that your neighbors will not object to. We encourage you to buy or borrow a copy! And good luck!

  8. Hey you guys. I signed the petition and got busy with other things. I heard that you were allowed to keep your garden and thought the issue was resolved.

    Seems to me the MSM let out that the issue was resolved to take the heat off the government. Not cool!

    However, you know those crews that come out and trim trees to keep the limbs off the lines? We caught the truck that mulches up the limbs and asked them to dump them in our yard. We are out here in Bithlo.


    Do a search on "Back to Eden Movie" and you will find out. Our neighbor had them dump several truckloads of mulch in his yard and we thought he was crazy at first, but he watered it everyday and the mulch breaks down quickly, produces really nice rich soil, holds moisture during dry hot days, helps block weeds and looks great!

    I'm working on getting a website up and running as we are facing some zoning difficulties out our way. Once it is up, you may be interested. In fact, I believe all Orange County residents should be interested. We'll see.

    I hope and pray that you win your battle with these jerks. But there's two issues here. 1) Agenda 21. 2) You'll have to read my first article to find out, LOL!

    Should be up and running at the latest by the first week of January.

    God Bless,


  9. We wish you well in your endeavour with the city.

    Distributed agriculture is key to local economic resilience.

    Here is an interesting item that may help folks resolve theae issues and will allow people who are hesitant to "grow their own" because of city\media attention.

    You are pioneers, keep up the good fight, we thank you!

  10. Just read your article and felt moved to action. Here is my email sent to Orlando's Mayor Buddy Dyer who can be contacted at

    Hello Mr. Dyer,

    I'm an urban farmer from Portland, Oregon and deeply concerned about American's ability to grow and connect with food - especially with children and future generations.

    Further, I just read about Jason and Jennifer Helvenston's front yard garden and trouble with perceived "lack of ground cover" concern from a neighbor and potential requirement of fencing their garden. Please take a moment and use this event for the positive - help your citizens connect with healthy food. Teach classes on gardening, biodiversity, and cooking food grown at home. Connect with other farmers within the area for assistance. Allow the Helvenston's example to inspire others.

    Gardens evolve, move, dance, and are best when shared with others.

    We need city ordinances and codes to promote better health and connection within community rather than isolating and condeming.

    You can do it.

    Melina Carabajal

  11. Just wrote a letter to the mayor

    Good Evening Mayor Dyer,

    I am a front/back, and side yard Grower from Gainesville Florida,
    I just read about the Helvenston's trouble with the city of Orlando......due to concerns over lack of ground cover,that was voiced by a neighbor, and the possible requirement of expensive approved fencing to hide the garden they do community outreach work with.

    In my opinion,t seems that this would be in direct contradiction to Orlando's wish to become one of the Greenest cities in the US.

    The Helvenston's should be commended for their good works in education, teaching of biodiversity and sustainable growing practices, and for their generosity with sharing their harvest with community members. These folks have gone a long way in teaching children where their food comes from, and how to safely grow it in their own yards.

    In these times of economic hardship , doesn't it make sense to have a Victory Garden in each and every yard in America? Grass/Lawn is a useless waste of time, money,maintenance and of our increasingly diminishing fresh water.
    Doesn't a well kept garden, that produces food for the family growing it , has minimal useage of diminishing resources, and actually is pleasing in an aesthetic manner a much more pleasant and affective use of space?

    When you combine ALL the aspects of the Helvenston's Garden, it makes far more sense to amend the antiquated codes to take into consideration a Home Owners rights in today's rapidly changing world. Making these decent people shut off their garden from the community with an expensive unneeded fence would provide not only a financial hardship on them, but it would diminish the entire not allowing them to continue in their generous good works.

    City ordinances and codes were originally written for safety and health issues....The Helvenston's pose no risk to either of these issues........Lets change things Mr Mayor, instead of giving in to the antiquated wasteful status quo.

    If a Garden on the Whitehouse Lawn is good enough for the President, his wife and family, it should also be good enough for every citizen and home owner.

    Be part of the future Mr Mayor, not part of the unreasonable past.

    Thank you for your time


    John S. Bradbury

  12. We live in a backwards world turned upside down. Dependency is the name of the game.

    For nonconformists, guns are tools to supply the freezer and protect from human and animal menaces.

    Those not tied into the land perceive it differently.

    Land is a natural resource that provides numerous benefits including aesthetics. The most beautiful sight in the world is a fruit/vegetable garden that provides for your family and friends.

    Those not tied to the land perceive it differently.

    Is there any question that "civilized" society in America today is anything but?

    It will take "revolutionaries" and "pioneers" like the Helvenston's to effect change. It is not easy because the system breeds dependency, not sustainability and not self-sufficiency, despite the intense rhetoric to the contrary.

    When government (on any level) claims sustainability to be a virtue, note how it promotes just the opposite (ie arrival at a fiscal cliff).

    You will note with disdain that a truism is in play here - the further you separate the individual from the land, the further you separate an individual from his money and rightful sense of self-worth.

    The Helvenston's battle is not a peripheral issue. It is central to common sense, our Constitution and true sustainability.

  13. My suggestion is: change (correct) the deed on your property to that of you natural birth names, not the name of the corporate fiction. ie. first name middle name of the family of last name. The codes do not apply to natural living people, only corporate persons. When a summons is issued, state in court that you do not understand (submit to their jurisdiction.) They need YOUR permission as a living being to adjudicate the corporate fiction who would no longer have any interest in the property. just saying. I did that. (in court they even asked my husband if he spoke English, and he affirmed he spoke English, but do not understand, on appeal the case was dropped by prosecutor) then when they continued to leave summons, I sued the judge and the code enforcement officer for trespassing, and harassment, and title 42 violations of my civil rights. Also post a no trespassing sign on the property borders.

  14. I just wanted to drop a line & say how great you guys are. Keep on keepin on & hopefully the politically correct machine that has its eyes on you will be seen for what it is. A man behind a curtain.

    Greetings from New Zealand!