Teacher allowed to continue with controversial community garden

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis teacher will be allowed to continue to grow a community garden, Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter said Friday.

High school teacher Adam Guerrero's garden has been controversial in his Nutbush community for months.

"Everything that I did was basically going from something that one person might consider trash and turning it into treasure," he said.

The garden, located in front of Guerrero's home, is tended by a group of teens as an after school activity. But it drew the ire of some neighbors.

"It smells like we're next to a stockyard," James Dowdy said in September.

Memphis Code Enforcement officers took notice. Now, as part of an ongoing agreement with Judge Larry Potter to keep the garden, Guerrero must show progress in cleaning up at periodical court appearances.

Friday, Guerrero said he will abide by the law, even though he believes it is misguided.

"The climate is to take matters into your own hands, to build it yourself and to do it yourself," he said. "And that's why I think the laws should change to reflect that, to allow people to take matters into their own hands."

Prosecutors say Guerrero has finished 96 percent of the clean-up.

"I always thought that was a pretty good score on a test," Potter told him. "So you're scoring well, sir."

Guerrero said the other four percent will get done soon.

"Initially, I wasn't able to keep a garden. Now I am, so that's good news," he said.

Friday, Potter helped Guerrero locate another piece of land where he can move the rest of his garden. Guerrero said he would begin that process immediately.

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