Update! (8/30/13): Due to public outcry, the property management has had to respond to “Rosie’s” garden being taken down:
From Kitchen Gardeners International (KGI):
I just spoke with the property management company handling the 8-unit rental property where Rosie and Mary live and the property owner has agreed to build a new raised bed vegetable garden for them and the other tenants next spring. It’s a small victory, but hopefully one that will motivate local and federal decision-makers to make sure that others living in subsidized housing can enjoy the benefits of home-grown foods too. Many thanks for all your help and support!
Much effort with KGI’s cause and blogs, along with all those who emailed brought at least something for Rosie and her mom in this case. A petition garnering 10,000 signatures was retired.
Editor’s Note: It is altogether outrageous that we have the government involved in shutting down any gardens, much less one to supplement food on a meager income. Instead, the USDA is interested swelling the ranks of food stamp dependents and promoting GMO crops to benefit a few corporations. It is sickening, and people should double-down and make victory gardens and similar efforts part of a vocal message to defy government interference in our lives. Which do we need more: food or government?
August 25, 2013
Names have been altered to protect those involved….
Just when you think the front-yard garden wars can’t get worse, enter USDA’s rural development dictatorship domineering the food source of the most vulnerable of our society.
In a South Dakota subsidized housing unit live four-year-old Rosie and her severely disabled mother, Mary. They survive on an incredible $658 fixed disability stipend. A tiny unused space just outside their back door seemed like a good place to grow some veggies to supplement their food source.
The garden was mostly tended by Rosie starting this past May.
The garden was ordered by property management to be completely removed…this week. Where are the orders really coming from?
Why, from the USDA’s Rural Development Agency, of course, who set up the rules for property managers to ban “structures” of any kind within their landscapes. Property management is strictly upholding this policy.
Some argue that if you enter into an agreement with any property, you are bound by those rules. However, we’re not talking landlords – we’re talking a government agency closely dictating this family’s plot of grass, food source, and ensuring their dependence and subservience to them. Plus, ordering a four-year-old girl from a hungry poor family to uproot her summer’s work (before they can even enjoy the fruits of her labor) goes against the grain of humanity and common sense.
They are not holding up their mission statement:
USDA Rural Development is committed to the future of rural communities. Our role is to increase rural residents’ economic opportunities and improve their quality of life. Rural Development forges partnerships with rural communities, funding projects that bring housing, community facilities, utilities and other services.
If you’re wondering why it’s illegal to feed the homeless, provide food in your own damn yard, serve your community with a food club, and city workers can and often uproot community gardens and residential yards – there’s a reason for the nonsensical madness. It’s not just bureaucrats acting ignorantly or being jerk-heads. As global elitist rulers anticipate the deliberate toppling of the food supply and urbanization, we can expect top-level on down bullying from two strong arms of the UN: Codex Alimentarius and Agenda 21.
If you’d like to do something to help this family or send a clear message to the USDA that we are watching and will not allow this absurd dictatorship, you can use the template from the petition provided by Kitchen Gardens International:
SEND DIRECTOR MEEKS AN EMAIL:
Subject: Allow USDA-subsidized housing residents to grow vegetable gardens
Dear Director Meeks,
I urge you to make a loud and clear statement to all the property management companies your agency contracts that USDA-subsidized residents have the right to keep their own vegetable gardens provided that these gardens are actively maintained. Vegetable gardens grow healthy and affordable foods as well as a sense of community. Rather than preventing low-income and disabled residents from providing for themselves, we should be doing everything we can to encourage them. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
(Your name, your town, your state)
Another thing would be to break government dependence, starting now, at any cost.
H/T to Sarah from Healthy Home Economist for bringing this story to light