A white truck with a decal on the side pulls into the driveway. The decal itself is unreadable from afar. A man wearing tan pants and a white shirt with a circular decal on the shoulder comes to the front door. As the man approaches, the decal on his shirt is easily readable “Environmental Department.”
The door is answered.
“Hello?” Says the homeowner.
“What’s going on in your backyard?” the agent asks.
“Just a little bit of permaculture” the homeowner responds.
“Put on some shoes and lets go back there and take a look”
“Bamboo???” The agent asks once they are both in the backyard.
“Yeah…it is planted all around the yard.”
“You know… it (the bamboo) is really devaluing your property. I could show you pictures of some overgrown bamboo that has taken over properties. It is bad to have. It gets out of control. Go back in the house. I’m going to take a few pictures and then I’m going to leave. It is not illegal to have a garden, but you have to keep your weeds trimmed to below 16 inches. They have to be cut. This property is considered overgrown.”
The homeowner goes back into the house, frazzled, with a citation in hand from Environmental Control. The words “Magistrate Court appearance”, “$500 fine”, “Jail time” dance across the piece of paper. The more the homeowner reads, the sicker she gets…She is terrified and upset.
The neighborhood surrounding the homeowner communicates. The homeowner finds out that her neighbor was also issued a citation to remove weeds from his property. He refused to comply and was fined $500. The same neighbor just happens to know someone who works for Environmental Control. He calls, asking what is happening. He discovers through his conversation with the employee of Environmental Control that the agency is down to only 2 individual, in person agents/officers and that the department had been sending out drones, hunting marijuana. Apparently people are hiding marijuana plants in their gardens. Our garden, one full of experimental growth and learning, was targeted.
Since the citation was issued to us here at our home in Boiling Springs, SC… we have contacted The American Bamboo Society’s Southeast chapter representative and Provitro Biosciences in Mount Vernon, WA. Both of the people we spoke with said that something was fishy about the agent’s comment about Bamboo.
“You can keep your bamboo, but it has to be trimmed to 16 inches maximum height or you have to get rid of it.” – Environmental Control Agent
Any lover of bamboo can instantly relate to how ridiculous this statement is. We are involved with our bamboo plants. We love them. We care for them. We have studied bamboo itself as well as bamboo management. How could we remove our beloved plants?
As far as the rest of the “weeds” in the garden go… since we are living with my Aunt (the homeowner) who was scared out of her wits, we decided to comply with removing the horse weed that we allowed to grow down through the chicken run of our garden. The horse weed grew there naturally. All we did was NOT CUT the grass. The horse weed provided a natural, free habitat for our chickens…providing shade, cover and hawk/predator protection. Not acceptable by Environmental Control standards.
The native weed (Horse weed) also provided us with a free, natural privacy screen from our neighboring trailer park. Our weedy hedge is now gone. Our chickens are exposed…our garden is still in need of weed removal and I suppose we will have to follow up with measuring tape (marked at 16 inches) in hand.
We have often called the state of our garden “Wild” because we have chosen to allow the native weeds to grow. We study them. We learn from them. We have found, through our un-traditional gardening methods that by allowing the native weeds to grow, we have few issues with garden pests. It is as if our annual garden plants are protected by a type of shield. The weeds, mixed in with our planted food producers, form some sort of alliance with each other. Garden pests seem to fly right over the food producing plants.
As for the bamboo… we will fight for our right to keep it. We are currently researching the South Carolina State as well as Spartanburg County rules and regulations for growing bamboo.
The interesting part about all of this? ALL of the bamboo that we have planted in our backyard came from areas/bamboo groves within Spartanburg County!!!! How are we NOT allowed to have it if it is growing all around our County???
In a few weeks, the Southeast Chapter representative of the American Bamboo Society will be visiting us and our bamboo. Our fellow bamboo lovers are actively researching the laws and regulations within our county/region about bamboo ownership/growing.
We will fight for you, bamboo! We will not sit in our house, shoeless, and allow you to force us into our house and out of our own backyard, Environmental Control. Others will hear our tale, including the local news and the wide wide world of Facebook. We will share our story. We will speak out.
Beware the garden weeds! Prepare for the thumb of repression. Look to the skies for a drone near you, South Carolina residents. This is real. This is happening.
DRONES are flying over our residence, for cryin’ out loud!!!!! Environmental Control Agents are telling us to stay in our homes and are TELLING us (not asking) that they are going to take pictures of our yard.
What say you?
More to come about all of this, including a video of the Agent’s return to our yard at the end of September. We’re ready.
Sustaining Universal Needs, Inc. is a 501c3 Nonprofit corporation developing Systems for Living in a low per capita energy world. Our goal is to assist people and the society in general in transitioning off the Fossil Fuel based economy that currently is winding down around us.
Although not acknowledged in our current Political environment or in the Mainstream Media, the world as a whole is currently faced with serious resource depletion and population overshoot problems, which manifest themselves in the economic problems all countries in the world now face, along with the severe Political problems evident in the Middle East.
Individuals have little control over this great global reset that is underway, but individuals do have choices they can make with respect to their own lives and that of their surrounding communities. Here at SUN, we hope to provide the information and expertise necessary for you and your community to negotiate the difficult times ahead.
SUN evolved from discussions among numerous people who have been following the problems associated with Resource Depletion for the last few years. Amongst the principles involved in this project are Teachers, Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, Builders and Laborers of all sorts. Each of us has our own individual ideas about preparing for the future world, not all are exactly the same either. In common though we see the need for greater Community development, more localized Economic systems, and a more equitable and fair Political system to govern ourselves.
We urge anyone concerned about the future to read through our website, read our Prospectus and join with us in the effort to build a Better Tomorrow.