Rosie is a vibrant 4-year old girl living with her single, severely-disabled mom in a subsidized housing unit in rural South Dakota. In May 2013, Rosie's mother, Mary, converted a small unused area outside their apartment into a vegetable garden. 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 ordered that the garden be removed this week saying that it goes against the rules set by USDA's Rural Development Agency which doesn't allow residents to have structures of any sort in landscaped areas.
Please join us in sending the message that everyone deserves to have access to gardens and healthy food, especially the most vulnerable people in society.
(Please note: To protect their identities, we are not disclosing Rosie and Mary's real names or exact location in South Dakota. Their story, however, is very real and anyone wishing to know more about why Kitchen Gardeners International is helping them can contact KGI's director, Roger Doiron, email@example.com)
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.
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
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