Encouraging Home Food Growth

A bipartisan bill protecting the right of Wisconsin homeowners to grow their own food on their own property, free from unreasonable restrictions, passed a State Assembly committee.  

State Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere) and State Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Gibson) introduced the bipartisan Wisconsin Vegetable Garden Protection Act. There are local zoning ordinances in their districts that have explicitly banned home vegetable gardens.

Sen. Jacque and Rep. Sortwell said the proposal was based on model legislation from the Institute for Justice. It strikes a reasonable balance between private property rights, localized “grow your own” food supplies, concern for pollinators, and also legitimate community standards and public safety. 

“State law should encourage and protect home vegetable gardens and private property rights,” Sen. Jacque said.

“In today’s inflationary times vegetable gardens can help families cope with the skyrocketing cost of food,
Rep. Sortwell said.  “Government should encourage and protect, not limit, the right to raise your own food on your private property.”

Sen. Jacque and Rep. Sortwell said the Two Rivers City Council recently extended their pilot program for front-yard vegetable gardens. It will extend into the 2024 growing season, in part due to this legislation.  

Sen. Jacque and Rep. Sortwell said the Two Rivers initiative highlights the public interest in having the option to pursue a quality gardening space in a residential setting throughout the area.  The States of Illinois and Florida have enacted similar laws.

The Wisconsin Vegetable Garden Protection Act (Assembly Bill 379) now heads to the Assembly Floor. It must pass the Senate and be signed by the Governor to become law.