Four-year-old girl living in subsidized housing gets to keep vegetable garden, no thanks to USDA

Thursday, September 05, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: USDA, subsidized housing, vegetable gardens

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(NaturalNews) One young girl's fight to keep her small vegetable garden, which had previously been threatened for elimination by a subsidized housing complex funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development Agency, has ended in victory. After thousands of health freedom warriors petitioned both the housing complex and the USDA to relent from forcing the child's garden to be removed, the complex finally agreed to build a separate raised planting bed for her garden's relocation.

According to reports, young Rosie and her mother Mary -- their names have been changed in reports to protect their identities -- became the target of their housing complex after Rosie decided to plant a few garden vegetables in a small patch of land just outside their apartment. Rosie's mother is single and severely disabled, receiving a fixed income payment of $628 per month from the government, which means every little bit helps, including a little extra produce from their garden. Rosie and Mary's housing is also paid for by the government.

But the eight-unit complex, which is located somewhere in South Dakota, was not happy when it found out about Rosie's garden, insisting that USDA rules forbid residents living in subsidized housing complexes from growing food in gardens on the property. According to the complex, Rosie's garden was an illegitimate structure positioned in an area reserved for complex landscaping and thus had to be removed to achieve compliance. Not long after, Rosie's garden was moved to a slab of concrete on the perimeter that did not have close access to water and was in constant direct sunlight.

Word about the situation quickly got out across the internet, resulting in thousands of letters being sent to the USDA, urging a reversal of the decision to move Rosie's garden. In response, the USDA claimed that there are, in fact, no rules forbidding gardens in subsidized housing complexes, a positive response. And yet, at the same time, the agency refused to actually go to bat for Rosie, instead leaving the situation in a state of indefinite limbo. The complex itself finally had to make its own decision on the matter.

Housing complex agrees to build Rosie her own raised garden bed without guidance from USDA

Fortunately, the end result was a positive one, as Rosie and her neighbors will very soon have their own raised planting bed for cultivating all sorts of fruits and vegetables to help support themselves. But the USDA is still nowhere to be found in publicly setting the record straight, which would ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. According to the latest reports, the USDA has simply disappeared, refusing to further comment on the situation and in turn demonstrating its complete uselessness as an agency that claims to protect rural vitality.

"All the USDA seems able to do is deny that it had anything whatsoever to do with the problem in the first place despite the fact that the agency pays most of the rent for Mary and thousands of citizens like her around the United States," explains The Healthy Home Economist in a followup to the situation.

"The USDA should do the right thing and insist that property owners and managers of subsidized housing permit residents to grow their own food in well cared for gardens rather than look the other way when residents are bullied for their efforts at self sufficiency."

You can read the original report about Rosie's garden, as compiled by The Healthy Home Economist, here:

You can also read the later-published followup here:

Sources for this article include:

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