The Story

On Oct. 8, 2012, a notice from the City of Orlando’s Code Enforcement stated that our “Front yard must be restored to its original configuration and ground covers restored.” Our edible garden had to go.

From the City of Orlando's Code Enforcement Status website we discovered a property manager directed by a landlord made the initial complaint.  Here is the link to our Code Enforcement Incident and the fact that it is still ACTIVE with a new scheduled inspection date, 12/10/2012.  City of Orlando Incident Report   The City has extended our deadline a 2nd month until 01/10/2013.  The City has extended our deadline a 3rd month until 02/11/2013.  
Apparently, we never did anything wrong in the first place. 

This landlord lives over a 1000 miles away and is not an active member of our community.   Over the 20 years that we have owned here, we have spoken with this landlord or property manager a few times because they are seldom around the neighborhood.  We are regularly in our front yard gardening.  Many neighbors, including their tenants, have vegetables growing in our Patriot Garden.  If they talked with us or anyone else in the neighborhood before they complained, we would probably not be here today.

We have reached out to this landlord on multiple occasions via their property manager with no responses.  We even flagged them down as they drove by once.   They have made it very clear that their interpretation of "neat and clean" is NO vegetable garden ("farm") in the front yard.  Here is the followup email to the Property Manager
Hello -

Since you are so interested in our property and controlling what we do on it, I thought I would copy you on the movement that you have started.  (See Below)  You are literally taking safe food off of families' tables, including your tenants. 

I have not received any contact from the landlord.  Again, we would have been happy to here her concerns and acted accordingly.  But if she does not wish to work together in order to come up with an acceptable solution then we will defend our position to the end.  Let's not make this a tit for tat, so please ask her to stop any further complaints before actually approaching us. 

I am formally inviting you to tour our ecoVillage.  I am extending the olive branch.  You may better understand the value our property has compared to a standard property.  Who knows, you may even change your position.  We give tours to any one and every one so just let us know when a time is convenient to you.

I hope we can co-exist in manner that is beneficial to all of us.  Have a good day.

Jason Helvenston


  1. This is Your nieghbord, the one that lives 1000 miles from you, but pay the same taxes that you do and lives in the same blanket of the rights that you mentioned retorical but do not know the meaning off. In the future, my name is Pedro Padin, you know my phone number. Stop the drama queen attitude and wait for the process to be concluded.

  2. Pedro - how is their garden hurting you?

  3. Gorgeous garden! Good luck to you! And yes, I'd like to know also how a vegetable garden in a front yard hurts a "neighbor" who lives 1000 miles away. Pedro, you should be ashamed!!!

  4. Hey Pedro!

  5. Great garden. Can't they comprehend that this is EDIBLE GROUND COVER?
    If the Code does not specify acceptable plants, by species... or specify unacceptable plants, then they should let the garden alone.

    If neighbors have veggies planted in your yard, how about them planting some in their own yards?
    Great garden. Can't they comprehend that this is EDIBLE GROUND COVER?
    If the Code does not specify acceptable plants, by species... or specify unacceptable plants, then why change it?


    How many gardeners can you find in Orlando to join you in demonstrations, a letter to the Mayor/whomever, and LOCAL news media. Doesn't the city have anything better to do?

    Best wishes from John & Ann in Virginia!
    I don't know why it converted names to J & A .

    Oh, yeah, we have veggies in our front yard, also -- that's where the sun is. ALSO now added deer netting along the street side -- don't like it, but they stepped over our fence and ate all the swiss chard (2 species), lettuce, and bush bean plants in one of our raised beds.