4-yr-old Rosie Will Have a Garden Next Spring via Property Management

by Heather Callaghan

Recently we learned of four-year-old “Rosie” and her single, disabled mother, “Mary” who were trying to keep the girl’s garden despite a property manager’s previous insistence that the garden go this week.

It was later stated that the reason for removal was for some relandscaping. The two live in a South Dakota housing unit subsidized by the USDA’s Rural Development Agency. The property manager fell back on RDA policy saying that the rules were that no “structures” be allowed in the yards.

The USDA since came out to say that they had no such policy either for or against the family growing food behind their dwelling. However, they did not intervene on Rosie and Mary’s behalf and they are the ones paying for people to live there. The USDA’s commentary and actions stopped there.

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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.

What isn’t readily clear is what will happen to this year’s garden Rosie has tended since May.

Also from KGI:

Despite our best efforts, though, the future of Rosie’s garden remains very uncertain. Since writing to you last, the garden (consisting mostly of tender greens) has already been removed from its very close and convenient location to one where it’s not likely to thrive: to a large concrete slab out in direct sun and out of easy watering range (see the attached photo). The garden was moved in order to carry out landscaping work around the building with no plan to move it back.

Again, RDA’s mission statement reads:

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.

They don’t seem to have much interest seeing to that. There was a lot of convenient buck passing. It took pressure on property management to finally do something for the family. He took it a step further by offering a place to garden for all the residents next spring.

Do you wonder why the situation arose in the first place and why another solution couldn’t be found before sparking a large Internet campaign with a petition and emails? Tiresome nonsense….

Also See:
USDA Shuts Down 4-Year-Old’s Garden

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook.

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