August 24, 2013
With each passing day, it seems the United States of America, “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” is becoming more and more like the Communist Russia I learned about in elementary school where people weren’t allowed to grow their own food unless the State “allowed” it.
In this latest crackdown on citizens simply trying to provide for themselves using the most basic of skills — gardening — the USDA’s Rural Development Agency is forbidding Rosie, an industrious 4-year old girl in South Dakota from using a small, unused area outside her subsidized housing unit to grow green vegetables.
Rosie’s mother, Mary (names changed to protect the child’s identity), is single and severely disabled. She and her daughter live on a fixed income disability payment of $628/month. The garden vegetables growing just outside her backdoor lovingly tended by Rosie provide a fresh and healthy addition to their diet that they could not otherwise easily afford.
Rosie started the garden in May 2013, but now the property management company has ordered the garden be removed this week!
Gardening apparently goes against the rules set by the USDA’s Rural Development Agency which forbids residents to have structures of any kind within landscaped areas. It seems to me that the practice of growing vegetables by the most needy in our society would take precedence over landscaping, wouldn’t you agree?
I wonder if the USDA plans to establish “rules” about breathing air in subsidized areas too?
The Federal bureaucracy seems to think that it owns those individuals who receive any sort of government assistance and that their behavior is completely within its jurisdiction to control no matter how ridiculous or blatantly un-American the power-tripping “rules” they decide to put in place may be.
Think this is an isolated case? It’s not. I write regularly on this blog about these outrageous situations where ordinary citizens are bullied by out of control bureaucrats, the most recent being a Mother in Maine who was harassed and threatened by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for feeding her healthy, robust 3 month old son homemade goat milk formula instead of horribly unhealthy commercial formula from the store laced with rancid vegetable oils and GMOs!
What You Can Do Now to Help Rosie
It is truly unfathomable that our country has degenerated to the point where a person can no longer garden without permission from bureaucratic thugs who get paid with our hard earned tax dollars to think up these rules — not laws — rules that have never been voted on by the elected representatives of the citizens expected to abide by those rules.
If you recall, this is exactly the sort of authoritarian insanity that started the American Revolutionary War (tea party anyone?).
Tell the USDA where it can put its “rules” against gardening by those living in rural, subsidized areas.
You can either sign the petition to save Rosie’s garden by clicking here or send an outraged letter directly to Elsie Meeks, State Director for South Dakota, USDA Rural Development Agency.
Sample Email to USDA
You can copy/paste the email template below to send directly from your email provider. Template provided courtesy of Kitchen Gardeners International.
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)