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Georgia Farmer Faces Fines for Growing Too Much Produce

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Photo by pizzodisevo on Flickr

Photo by pizzodisevo on Flickr

Going green and growing your own vegetables is usually seen as a good thing, but apparently there can be too much of a good thing in DeKalb County, Georgia; the county is suing Steve Miller for growing too many crops on his two acres in Clarkston.

In what has been coined “Cabbagegate,” Miller was cited in January for exceeding the number of crops allowed according to zoning regulations. In response, throughout the summer, Miller stopped his massive garden, which includes broccoli and fig trees as well as cabbages. He applied to have the land rezoned, and in the meantime the charges were held.

But now that his land has been rezoned and he’s within the law to grow his produce, the county has picked up the old charges to prosecute. Miller faces nearly $5,000 in fines. Miller’s attorney maintains this “borders on harassment,” implying that Miller’s good faith in rectifying the situation should excuse him from paying for the previous violations.

Miller has been growing vegetables for 15 years; he calls it “a way of life, like it’s something in my blood.” He sells some of the produce at farmers’ markets and gives away some as well.

His neighbors, far from complaining about the vegetation, love what Miller has done to his property.

Neighbor Britt Fayssoux has been quoted as saying, “When he moved here and I found out what he was doing I said, ‘Steve, you’re the best thing that ever happened to Cimarron Drive.’ And I still say that.”

Should DeKalb County give up on collecting on the past fines or should Miller have to cough up the, ahem, cabbage? Or could there be an alternative solution, such as Miller donating some of his vegetation to a local food bank? What do you think?

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September 16th, 2010 at 10:05 am

Posted in Legal News

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