The village of Shorewood is the northeastern portion of iron ring of suburbs that box in the city of Milwaukee. It prides itself on having a respectable standard of living, and is sometimes referred to as a bohemian suburb, if such a thing could exist. Never mind that Shorewood is poised above the bohemian (“troubled”) Milwaukee neighborhood of Riverwest; while folks in Riverwest pride themselves on generally being able to do what they wish with their yards, folks in Shorewood apparently do not have that luxury.
As part of the recent Victory Garden Initiative “blitz,” planting beds sprung up all around Milwaukee and the greater metro area. Shorewood was no exception, with its organizer Gretchen Mead in residence there. But it turns out that the Shorewood village officials are not so keen on having people used their yards as they wish.
According to shorewoodnow.com, the village has issued fines to some residents for either planting vegetables in their front yards, and in some cases, on the parkway, the area between the sidewalk and the road. While the recent burst of urban gardening brought this attention on the newest offenders of the various rules pertaining to yard-farming, it’s not a new phenomenon. People have been using their lawns as the good growing space that it is for years. What’s more is the village committee that is supposed to meet and discuss such matters “never met.”
The horse may indeed be out of the barn.
August 11, 2009 Update: NPR ran a story done by Susan Bence of WUWM on this matter. Listen to it here.