[UPDATE: Good news, everyone —  Rosie gets her garden back next spring.]

We’ve written before about how city officials are waging a war on gardens. But it’s not just big cities that are overlooking the opportunities of replacing manufactured lawns with useful veggies and herbs. Kitchen Gardeners International, the same organization which was helping those Québécois garden owners fight to keep their front-yard vegetable patch, is now trying to get a rural agency to let a 4-year-old keep her garden.

KGI writes:

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 in back of their building out of view to passers-by.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

You know where this is going.

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.

What’s particularly sad about this story is that there’s not really any apparent reason for the garden to be removed. The USDA “says that it has no written rules preventing Mary and Rosie from having a garden,” KGI reports. But it also hasn’t told the Rural Development Agency to cancel the order or give Rosie a new spot to plant and play.

This story has been championed by libertarian types who see government meddling where there shouldn’t be any. But you don’t need to be politically opposed to government action to think that maybe this action is crossing a line.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!