Petition Tag - gardening

1. Sam Bridge Nursery Needs Your Help

Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses is a third generation family business that has been operating in the town of Greenwich, CT for 87 years. Due to excessive pressure from a neighbor, we were issued a cease and desist order from the town of Greenwich Zoning Enforcement Officer. The cease and desist order states that we have a "Landscaping Business Being Run Out of a Permitted Nursery."

According to the town's municipal code book (Division 2, Section 6-5 (11)), a commercial nursery shall mean a place where trees and other plants are grown for sale. Currently, the town does not have a definition for a landscaping business in the municipal code book. Although we find the Zoning Enforcement Officer to be a reasonable person, we believe that his interpretation of the town municipal code for nurseries is incorrect. We also believe that the current land use definition for nurseries, written in the 1940s, is vague and outdated. We will be asking the Zoning Board of Appeals to overturn Mr. Couture's decision and/or to amend our special exception to include landscaping.

When our father started this business in 1930, his business model was to grow and sell plants, plant related products, and services. In 1956 he moved his business from Doubling Road to its present location at 437 North Street. This property has been in our mother's family (Reynolds) for over 300 years and has always been a farm. The nursery and greenhouse business is considered farming; we operate under the Right to Farm Law and our property is assessed as farmland (PA490). Our family would like to keep this property as farmland rather than subdividing into house lots.

As part of running a nursery, we offer landscape design, installation, and garden maintenance services. These services are and have been an important aspect of selling the plants that we grow. These services also include many community outreach and special projects, several that we do free of charge for the town of Greenwich. Some of which are: planting and maintaining traffic islands, planting trees along public roads, growing and hanging the town baskets on Greenwich Avenue and the Post Road. We also work extensively with local community gardens, school groups, and non-profits. We do not cut grass, blow leaves, snow plow, perform masonry, and install lighting and irrigation or other services you would expect from a typical landscape company. We would like to ask for your support to help us overturn the zoning enforcement officer's decision and/or to amend the special exception for Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses to include landscaping.

2. End Fairview Township's Ban On Sustainable Living And Urge Municipalities Nationwide To Do The Same

Our family has been homesteading in Fairview Township (zip 16415) in Pennsylvania since 1976 on nearly three acres of land zoned A1 Rural. When our family purchased this land, the adjacent acreage was nothing but corn field.

Our zoning allowed for agriculture, even Horses and Ponies were specifically mentioned in zoning as allowed. Sometime during the 1980's the township slipped in a ban on chickens, goats, cows and swine. Most were unaware and kept raising these animals in peace. In the 1980's, some adjacent property was developed into a suburban neighborhood comprising of small homes on quarter acre lots. Meanwhile, our home remained A1 rural and we continued homesteading on our land.

On April 23, 2013 our family recieved a certified letter from the township office citing two zoning violations. One demanded that we eliminate our 16 chickens (organic egg laying hens) an our two pigmy dairy goats by May 7, only two weeks later. The second violation stated we are not permitted to have on our property our vintage Farmall Type A tractor that we use almost daily on our small farm, and originally belonged to my grandfather who worked it on his 150 acre farm in Ohio. The two violations, if not corrected will essentially end our families homestead and cease our journey to living a self sufficient lifestyle. The violation notice threatens fines of $500 per day, per occurance if not disposed of by May 7, 2013.

We have many friends and neighbors who live in our same zoning district of A1 Rural who also raise chickens and other animals as they have for years, and are frightened that they will be next.

Our township clearly opposes self sufficiency and homesteading, and we hope to change this for our community, and those like us nationwide.

3. Allow gardening and food growing on Brighton Mound

The Mound is a food growing project in the heart of Brighton's North Laine which has attracted a lot of positive attention over the past few months because it has transformed a space derelict for 15 years into a flourishing community garden.

But not all the attention has been positive: despite the fact that the owners of the land do not have the planning permission they need to develop it they are nonetheless forcing the local community gardeners to leave so that it can return to it's previous state of dereliction.

The gardeners want to stay until the owners are ready to start actively developing the site, so we can continue growing food and use the garden as a space where the community can meet and learn about local, sustainable food production and it's increasing importance in a world with it's resources fast running out.

4. Stop illegal deforestation at Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries

The only host plant of the monarch butterfly (milkweed) is often a noxious weed in Canada. In the USA there is a loss of biodiverse agriculture and agricultural lands to urban sprawl and use of pesticides and herbicides.

In Mexico there is illegal logging of Oyamel fir trees within the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. In 2009 According to Monarch Watch over 50 percent of the monarchs died due to mudslides, freezing rains and floods within and around the sanctuaries.

5. Reinstate Burke's Backyard

Don Burke needs to be reinstated to channel 9 for a full hour show each week.

Having Don Burke on A Current Affair for a few minutes each Friday is an insult to Don Burke and the Australians who loved his show.

6. Replant the Whitehouse Place Gardens, LA

7. Save Jim's allotment

Jim Harvey, a 76 year old resident of Buckland Brewer in Devon, has been threatened with notice to quit his allotment by Buckland Brewer parish council.

Jim has tended his allotment for seven years and has taken on two others, when asked to by the council, so that these did not revert to wilderness.

In 2007, Jim applied to the council to erect a polytunnel to help him supply his extended family with organic produce throughout the year. Even though planning permission was not required, the council refused Jim’s request and, at the time, gave no reasons for its decision.

Later in the year, Jim erected a polythene covered greenhouse. In response, the council demand that he remove the ‘unauthorised structure’. Yet, the greenhouse did not require planning permission nor did the council have powers to regulate the erection of ‘structures’ on the allotments. This is because neither Jim nor any other allotmenteer had signed a tenancy agreement specifying terms and conditions.

Jim has refused to comply with the council’s demand, because it had no power to make such a demand.

Effective 1 March 2008, the council imposed terms and conditions on allotment holders, including a requirement to seek permission to erect ‘structures’. As the term ‘structure’ is not defined, it could, in theory, mean beanpoles, cold frames or scarecrows. But, the transparent aim was to get Jim to remove his greenhouse.

The council is now attempting to use the new tenancy agreement retrospectively to evict Jim and voted to serve notice to quit.