When Would You Break the Law?


What if it were illegal to garden?

Would you break the law by growing your own vegetables or buying from those who do?

Would it make a difference if it had always been illegal in your lifetime versus something that BECAME ILLEGAL?

This is a hypothetical “what-if” that I started thinking about while examining the characters and their motivations in my Seed Savers book series.

The answer I came up with was that I would be much more likely to step into unlawful activities that became illegal over the course of my lifetime rather than something that had always been in place. This isn’t a great illustration I know, but I thought of the time way back in my youth when the country road I drove on every day was widened and a line painted down the middle. It irritated me. I no longer felt like I could drive down the middle of it. Likewise the stop sign they added where the road dead-ended into another road. For years I felt as if I should drive it the way it had been before. Just out of stubbornness I suppose. After all, it was my road and there was nothing wrong with the way it had functioned before.

In the case of my characters, first we have the elderly mentor Ana who secretly gardens and saves seeds. The laws changed around her. Then there are the child characters. They have known no other life. In fact, things have changed so much that they don’t even know food comes from plants.

It definitely seems to me that they are the brave ones when they begin to take up the illegal act of gardening and educate themselves in this endeavor.

The reason they take the risk is key. All of the characters who resist the anti-gardening laws do so not out of stubbornness, but they do it out of a sense of what they believe is morally right.

The belief that sometimes  following the law isn’t the right thing to do.

What would you do?

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade series, Seed SaversVisit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

4 comments on “When Would You Break the Law?

  1. Well, Jefferson said, “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”
    There’s a biker gang which uses this slogan too. If it was against the law to garden, I bet they would give up being bikers and become botanists. Then we could be terrorised by out-of-control botany gangs pedalling their drugs (at least that makes sense) and shooting up the cities (that makes less sense.)

    • You only have to pop “vigilante gardening” or “guerilla gardening” into the search engine to see that this is already happening in a tiny way. People planting in vacant lots or resisting ordinances about gardening. 🙂 Thanks for the comment.

      • No worries. I have the first book of the Seed Savers on my kindle, hoping to get around to reading it one day.

        Guerilla gardeners are the best kind of vigilantes.

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