Neighbor calls teacher's garden a hazard, says it must go - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Neighbor calls teacher's garden a hazard, says it must go

A Memphis teacher is under fire for the garden he's planted in his front yard. A Memphis teacher is under fire for the garden he's planted in his front yard.

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis teacher is under fire for the garden he's planted in his front yard.

Adam Guerrero, a high school teacher, uses his garden to teach a group of neighborhood students. In it, they grow vegetables, harvest honey, make soap and create biodiesel.

"This is what they do on a daily basis," said Kristen Heath, who supports the garden. "They come out here, work on this garden, and learn all these sustainability skills."

While some see the garden as a teaching tool, others say it is big bother.

"We sit out on the front porch it smells like we're next to a stockyard," said James Dowdy, who lives across the street.

Dowdy believes the entire operation is a hazard.

"He's got a lot of stuff that draws rats and all kind of insects and stuff," he say, "All because they go over there and feed because he keeps so much garbage and stuff."

In August, Environmental Court declared the property a nuisance. Adam Guerrero, the property owner, was ordered to clean-up the weeds, grass, and overgrowth, maintain a clean and sanitary exterior, and refrain from accumulating or storing debris and personal property outside.

"It's just not something that need to be taken away," Heath said. "It's something that needs positive encouragement and support from the community."

Heath feels to strongly about the issue she started an on-line petition supporting Guerrero's ecosystem. So far, more than 3,000 have signed it.  She hopes the petition makes a difference when Guerrero returns to court to prove compliance with the order.

"Why target this one thing, that's a positive thing, instead of other things that really do need attention in our city?" she asked.

But Dowdy wants relief.

"I want him to get rid of the smell," he said.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly