Hippie Justice

Feisty Garden of Eden farmers gear up for trial with City of Arlington

Feisty Garden of Eden farmers gear up for trial with City of Arlington

Garden of Eden in Arlington
Arlington alleges that this organic farm property is not in compliance with city code. Garden of Eden/Facebook
police, Garden of Eden in Arlington
Arlington police say they had reason to believe Garden of Eden was growing marijuana.  Garden of Eden/Facebook
Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden practices sustainable farming. Garden of Eden/Facebook
Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden set up shop at the Arlington Eco Fest in September.  Garden of Eden/Facebook
Garden of Eden
The garden offers free classes and also sells food and crafts to the public. Garden of Eden/Facebook
police, Garden of Eden in Arlington
In addition to police officers, members of code compliance and the narcotics division set up camp in the Garden of Eden on August 2. Garden of Eden/Facebook
police, Garden of Eden in Arlington
Code Compliance hauled away multiple loads of "nuisance materials" from the farm. Garden of Eden/Facebook
Garden of Eden in Arlington
police, Garden of Eden in Arlington
Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
police, Garden of Eden in Arlington
police, Garden of Eden in Arlington

Just west of Tierra Verde Golf Course in Arlington, there's a sustainable farm called the Garden of Eden. It's a 3-and-a-half-acre property where a hodgepodge of farmers, thinkers and drifters live off the land. As you may recall, Arlington police raided the farm on August 2, 2013, looking for an extensive marijuana enterprise.

And although they found only weeds, the City of Arlington slapped property owner Shellie Smith with a laundry list of code violations, resulting in fines of about $4,000. For its part, the city still won't release documents explaining why it erroneously believed the property was a drug empire.

 Arlington just wants Shellie Smith to write a check for code violations and forget the whole armed SWAT team invasion.

Arlington just wants Smith to write a check and forget the whole armed SWAT team invasion. But the peaceful (albeit unusual) residents aren't paying up.

Instead Smith has opted for a jury trial, which is set for Thursday, March 13, at the Arlington Municipal Court.

According to a statement announcing the trial, fellow farm dwellers Inok Alrutz and Quinn Eaker will also be in attendance, along with "hundreds of supporters of the Garden of Eden."

Smith is the only named party in the suit, which alleges unclean premises, failure to keep property free and clear of weeds, nuisance outside storage, trees overhanging streets and sidewalks, faulty weather protection, hazardous wiring, and operating a business out of one's home without a permit.

"We all have a vested interest in seeing that our civil liberties are protected rather than trampled by our governments," the statement reads in part. "We are taking this opportunity to stand for many important principles and practices that we feel are essential to everyone’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, most especially holding our public servants accountable to the law just as anyone else — law makers and law enforcers should not be 'above the law.'"