Cause leader Roger Doiron set out to reverse a Canadian town’s ban on front yard gardens by creating a petition, acquiring signatures and support, and delivering them to town officials. This week, he won! In a sudden turn of events, Roger’s Drummondville petition forced town officials to allow front yard gardens to exist. More importantly, the town has publicly announced that they will work with Josée and Michel, owners of the picturesque garden above, to help implement new guidelines that will allow residents to nurture their gardening aspirations.
Drummondville town officials announced the decision [Ed note: Link is in French] this week during a special session of the Municipal Council to discuss the case. The decision could create a ripple effect in other cities worldwide as zoning laws are a constant debate in urban environments. Roger told us, “The Drummondville case was one of the highest profile examples of a local municipality challenging the right to grow food in one’s own yard. While it took place in Canada, it quickly attracted international media attention because of the garden’s beauty and productivity. The win is significant because it helps establish a precedent that other urban and suburban gardeners can refer to when similar challenges arise in other parts of the world.”
Roger is a cause leader who inspires us. He’s currently working on a new grants and partnership program called Sow It Forward, which he is launching later this year to help support like-minded groups working at the community level to plant and scale up food gardens. It’s a huge task, but Roger is grounded and thoughtful about what he hopes to accomplish. “We’re hoping to make new connections between the garden haves and have-nots. Nonprofits often see the world with a scarcity frame: we need more of something (money, volunteers, citizen engagement, etc) to make the world a better place. While that philosophy is sometimes true, Sow It Forward is trying to use an abundance frame by saying that we have the resources we need to plant thousands of new gardens in the form of seeds, supplies, land, know-how and willing volunteers. All we need to do is make more connections between those who have these things and those who are seeking them.”
Roger is ecstatic about the new partnership between the gardeners in Drummondville and town officials because uprooting a beautiful garden is probably the last thing anyone wanted to see. “I think it was a smart move on their part and one that offers benefits to both sides. It helps transition the case from one of confrontation to one of collaboration.” The new step is significant progress that could be replicated in other cities where confrontation exists. Looking to pave the way in your community and save your garden? Start a cause to make it happen and leave us comment if you need help!
If you’d like to learn more about Sow It Forward, feel free to visit the website.
All photos via Le Potager Urbain