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News


Pollinator planting cost share for ag land - deadline approaching

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Posted December 06, 2018

Do you have agricultural land? If you do, the federal government would like to share the cost of planting native wildflowers and grasses for pollinators! The program is called the EQIP Pollinator Initiative and the Deadline is December 21, 2018. Visit your local USDA NRCS Office, look for a ‘Service…

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Public Garden Grant for Charlotte and Sarasota Counties - Mangrove Chapter

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Posted December 10, 2018

The Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society has made available $250 per Grant application “to create a public wildlife garden; to rehabilitate or enhance an existing garden; to replace invasive, exotic species with Florida native plants; to enhance a clubhouse, business, or non-profit…

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Give the gift of native plant conservation to your friends and family

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Posted November 24, 2018

Wondering what to get your friends who don't need anything? I bet they aren't members of the Florida Native Plant Society yet. (The best organization advocating for native plants and native plant communities in the state of Florida)

You can help them learn about what we do, help us advocate for native plants in the state, and assuage your guilt for not having a creative gift.

Text them and ask for their address and get their email address and phone number ready. Call (321) 271-6702 with that info and we'll send them a holiday email!

New Smithsonian Study Links Declines in Suburban Backyard Birds to Presence of Non-native Plants

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Posted October 24, 2018

New Smithsonian Study Links Declines in Suburban Backyard Birds to Presence of Non-native Plants Findings Give Landowners a Simple Roadmap To Provide Essential Habitat for Breeding Birds Insect-eating birds that depend on the availability of high-calorie, high-protein cuisine—namely caterpillars and…

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FNPS submits comments on updated management plan for the Crystal River Preserve State Park

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Posted October 17, 2018

The Florida Native Plant Society reviewed a proposed update of the Crystal River Preserve State Park Unit Management Plan and submitted the following letter for consideration by to the Acquisition and Restoration Council.   While the update acknowledged sea level rise as a factor in the long-term…

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Call for Research Track Papers and Poster Presentations Florida Native Plant Society 2019 Conference

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Posted October 10, 2018

The Florida Native Plant Society Annual Conference will be held at the Plantation on Crystal River, Crystal River, Florida, May 16-19, 2019.  The Research Track of the Conference will include presented papers and a poster session on Friday May 17 and Saturday May 18.  Researchers are invited…

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FNPS 2019 Endowment Grant Research Awards, Conservation Grant Awards and the Dan Austin Award for Ethnobotany

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Posted October 10, 2018

The Florida Native Plant Society maintains an Endowment Research Grant program for the purpose of funding research on native plants. These are small grants ($1500 or less), awarded for a 1-year period, and intended to support research that forwards the mission of the Florida Native Plant Society…

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FNPS 2019 Landscape Award Application

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Posted November 28, 2018

Do you have an outstanding landscape showcasing Florida’s native plants?  Consider submitting an application for an FNPS Landscape Award.   There are numerous categories to choose from: Residential Single Family  Residential Multi-Family (including subdivisions)  Commercial…

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FNPS Intro

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Posted October 18, 2018

Latest from the Blog


Fighting over front yard gardens, wild native plants, and you

You may recall the fight between two gardeners and the Village of Miami Shores in 2016[1]. The two gardeners were growing vegetables in their front yard which violated the Village's zoning code Sec. 536 (5): "Vegetable gardens are permitted in rear yards only."[2]

The case almost made it to the Florida Supreme Court[3] but the justices refused to hear it[4]. They were represented by attorney Ari Bargill of the non-profit Institute for Justice[5]. Florida State Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) has taken up their cause this session, filing SB 82: Vegetable Gardens last week.

Relevance to Native Plant Enthusiasts

Ordinances restricting gardens in front yards reflect a reliance on outdated standards of landscaping that favor manicured green lawns that are ecologically sterile and provide little habitat for native bees, butterflies, and birds.  Ordinances and zoning codes restricting ecologically or nutritionally beneficial landscaping are often justified by "aesthetics", intimating that growing plants in your front yard for anything other than their ornamental value can be restricted by overzealous local governments.

Many of our members are native plant enthusiasts and grow native plants in their front yards to benefit native pollinators and birds as we, Xerces Society[6], and National Audubon Society[7] recommend to address our worldwide invertebrate decline[8][9]. Restricting the cultivation of plants in front of a house to those that serve no purpose other than to decorate is regressive. This arbitrary restriction enforces harmful norms that equate high property values with expensive, lifeless lawns that provide no food for people or pollinators.

Further research

Many of the least-protected plants in the world are not listed as threatened or endangered and are used for food, according to a new study published in the journal Ecological Indicators. Most food crops grown in Florida are not native, however, there are numerous wild plant species that are foraged for food, fiber, medicine, and decoration here in Florida and throughout the US and the world[10].

Growing heirloom vegetables and herbs that are suited to your area contributes to crop biodiversity, particularly if you save your seeds and replant them the next season. Additionally, growing native plants that are the wild relatives of crop plants maintains that important biodiversity that is highly sought-out when breeding disease resistance into domesticated food crops.

Conclusion

Local governments are currently allowed to restrict your ability to grow useful plants in your front yard. Senator Rob Bradley's bill would prevent local governments from restricting your right to grow edible plants in your front yard. If you support the premise of this bill, you can thank Senator Bradley and contact the Senators that represent you to encourage this bill through to the Governor's desk.

[1] Ovalle, David. 2016. Court upholds Miami Shores ban on veggie gardens. Miami Herald.
[2] Miami Shores Village, FL Zoning Code. Accessed 2018-11-27
[3] Fox35Orlando Staff. 2017. Supreme Court asked to rule on front yard garden ban. Accessed 2018-11-27.
[4] News Service of Florida. 2018. Florida Supreme Court turns down Miami-Dade vegetable garden case. Accessed 2018-11-27
[5] Institute for Justice. 2017. Florida Appellate Court Upholds Ban on Front-Yard Vegetable Gardens. Accessed 2018-11-27.
[6] Xerces Society. Bring Back the Pollinators Campaign. Accessed 2018-11-27.
[7] Krupp, Lexi. 2018. Yards With Non-Native Plants Create 'Food Deserts' for Bugs and Birds. National Audubon Society.
[8] Schwagerl, Christian. 2016. What's Causing the Sharp Decline in Insects, and Why It Matters. Yale Environment 360.
[9] Marchese, Halle and van Hoose, Natalie. 2018. Florida monarch butterfly populations have dropped 80 percent since 2005. Florida Museum.
[10] Mattson, Sean. 2018. Wild coffee plants, Christmas trees and chocolate's tree are surprisingly poorly protected. CIAT.

by Valerie Anderson, Director of Communications and Programming

Recent Blog Posts ...

Why do we care so much about Warea?
What it's like to adopt a highway by Janina Shoemaker of Sea Rocket Chapter
Gardening with Natives Open Forum by Carolyn Gregsak
Bank with Natives in Steinhatchee by Jaya Milam
Field Trip to Ashton Biodiversity Research and Preservation Institute
Who Doesn't Love a Cocoplum?
FNPS Citrus Chapter Member Honored

Florida Native Plant Society: Faithful Friends of Florida’s Flora
fnps.org/resources/faqs