If you have "no place to go," come here!

Memphis garden attacked as public nuisance


Here's the original Memphis Flyer story:
But with no visible trash or garbage and plants kept off the sidewalk and driveway, Guerrero doesn't understand why a judge would bring his operation to a halt.

"These are direct applications to math, biology, engineering," says Guerrero, who uses his garden as a sort of continuing education for Jovantae, Jarvis, and Shaquielle, the latter of whom is a former student of Guerrero's at Kingsbury High School. Jovantae and Jarvis attend the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering (MASE). "I'm proud to know that the students I work with are probably the only students in Memphis City Schools who know how to make their own biodiesel," Guerrero says.

With the glycerin by-product from the biodiesel, the kids have learned to make soap. They suit up in beekeeping gear and harvest honey. They fill worm bins with kitchen scraps from Central BBQ and Huey's — a contract they have with Project Greenfork — and watch as it turns into nutrient-rich soil. Guerrero and the boys have also installed solar panels at the Midtown North Community Garden.

"One aspect of the schools is teaching that every child should be college-bound but [without] teaching them any skills. The kids don't even know how to use a ruler. I'm taking a different approach and teaching them skills," says Guerrero, who has his students at Raleigh-Egypt help with the garden as well, using geometry and basic tools to help craft worm bins, beehives, and small greenhouses from recycled materials.

Jovantae, a junior at MASE, estimates that he and his friends spend three or four days at the garden when school is out and at least one day a week during the school year. They are none too pleased with the judge's decision.

"I don't understand why it's a problem if it's in the backyard," says Shaquielle, a senior at Kingsbury. "We like coming here. We don't want it to go away."

Well, Shaquielle, a cynic would say that's why they're trying to take it away. Assholes.

No votes yet


jjmtacoma's picture
Submitted by jjmtacoma on

I wonder if he could have space at the school where he works. One of our local high schools has green houses and they do a plant sale every spring for a fund raiser.

Not that finding space it really the problem, I'm sure the neighbors are worried about the traffic of "youths" coming and going.

Submitted by jawbone on

space, etc. And, to properly care for it would require a lot ore time, travel, etc,, for the teacher.

But, I do not get why it's a "public nuisance' if on his property, primarily in his back yard. Is there a neighbor who doesn't want youths coming to the neighborhood? Or...some kind of feud the teacher isn't even aware of?

But, the judge? What does he base his ruling on? And is there an appeal?

I will note that when attending the county chrysanthemum show at the local arboretum here in Northern NJ suboonia, a grower said he had to remove all his pots lining his driveway, the only place with adequate sun, based on a town complaint that he couldn't have extraneous things in his driveway. Safety reasons. Had to have room for firemen to get to the house, etc. (Uh, what about cars in driveways, dudes?) Which is massively unenforced elsewhere in the very same township, from garbage pails to BBQ's to hose holders to all sorts of outdoor items -- they're in driveways, especially where there are smaller lots.

Towns can have weird regulations, local laws.

nomad2's picture
Submitted by nomad2 on

Sounds like Memphis alright.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

What the hell is the problem? What ordinance could that possibly contravene? I mean, that's not some gated community where they can tell you which grass to plant and that the lawn may not be more than 1.5 inches tall. Christ on a bike in a pancake hat.