I was flipping through Facebook this morning, and saw yet another tale of government run amok. However, this one enticed me enough to cause me to read, as it promised to provide anecdotal evidence of the federal government picking on a little South Dakota girl:
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?
The only problem? This story is not readily or reliably sourced. In fact, the source website for this latest case of government outrage cites another website. Which interestingly enough, if you try to search for the story, just isn’t there.
And of course, the source website for the tale, cites the fact that a child is used in the story as the basis for changing the names. Absent news organizations having internal rules over identifying the victims of sex crimes, I’m not aware of anything preventing the aggrieved adult gardener from being identified.
That is, if they exist.
I did got a note back from the cited source who claims it’s all true, so quickly at the crack of dawn on Sunday it seemed to be automated …
On Aug 25, 2013, at 6:55 AM, Roger Doiron
It’s not a rumour. The mother in question does not want to be identified in the media and has shared her story with me directly. We’ve added some details to our petition here: http://www.causes.com/save-rosies-vegetable-garden
As more info becomes available, it’s becoming clear that no one- the USDA, the property management co, the owner – feels any moral or legal obligation to let this well-meaning mom grow her own food. As she is poor and powerless, she is now resigning herself to losing her garden.
But I’m still left with more questions than answers.
As I replied back,
I read the petition, and see no more detail than was provided in the story. I must say that this has all the hallmarks of appearing to be an Internet rumor.
Is there a letter from the property management company? Or anything that shows that yes, this happened, and yes, this person exists?
I quickly thereafter received this curious reply.
The story is true, Pat. How people decide to interpret and spread the story is something else.
How does one ‘interpret’ a supposedly factual story? Especially one lacking any evidence that can be tracked to a source?
I’ll leave it at that this morning, as the sun starts to creep over the neighbor’s home out front. But do I count myself as a believer of this unsourced Internet yarn?
Well, they can’t put it on the Internet if it isn’t true, can they?