Kitchen Gardeners International has launched a campaign to help save the garden of a four year-old girl and her severely disabled mother.
The family, which lives in subsidized housing in South Dakota, was informed by the property management company that runs their housing development that their garden went against USDA regulations and would need to be removed.
The USDA has responded that they have no rules against kitchen gardens for families in subsidized housing, but the management says it still plans to destroy the child's garden by the end of this week.
Kitchen Gardeners International says:
Although the garden is compact, it produces a variety of healthy greens which Rosie and Mary could otherwise not easily afford on their fixed income ($628/month in disability payments) while also providing a safe play area for Rosie just outside her own backdoor. Now their property management company has asked that the garden be removed this week per instructions from the USDA's Rural Development Agency so that the property might be relandscaped. For its part, the USDA says that it has no written rules preventing Mary and Rosie from having a garden, but it also hasn't come to their defense by reassuring them that they will have a space for gardening in the future.
KGI has launched a petition asking the USDA to intervene, saying:
We are directing this petition at the USDA because its Rural Development Agency's stated mission is to "improve the quality of life in rural America" which this garden is clearly doing and because we believe that the USDA should promote American agriculture in the broadest sense (healthy farms, foods AND GARDENS). As the USDA pays most of the rent for Mary and thousands like her in poor rural areas, it has the financial bargaining power with property owners and managers to enable subsidized housing residents to grow their own food.
So far, the petition has collected over 10,000 signatures out of a goal of 15,000. There are four days remaining for the petition.