“We try to think that the individual needed them more than the gardener and that they resorted to theft out of desperation.”
Sarina Clay-Smith, urban agriculture program coordinator for Richmond Food Security, tried to remain positive when she comes across an apparent theft from one of the city’s community gardens.
But this season, according to Clay-Smith, has been one of the worst for people pilfering the fruits of community gardeners’ labour in Richmond.
None of this is new to the city, however, and the Richmond News has published several stories over the last few years to that effect.
“Theft has been a recurring issue in many of the gardens, and this season has been particularly bad already,” said Clay-Smith.
“Garlic, rhubarb, peppers and many other vegetables have gone missing or have been damaged by non-gardeners.
“Damaged vegetables is heartbreaking and completely unacceptable as it not only ruins the harvest for this year, but for potential future harvests if the plant is damaged.”
One of the gardens hit worst by theft this season, explained Clay-Smith, has been Garratt Gardens, at the Wellness Centre, near Blundell Centre.
As the program coordinator for the community gardens, walking around the city’s community gardens is “one of the great pleasures of this position,” added Clay-Smith.
“These gardens are a product of gardeners’ financial, physical and emotional investment.
“Each plot is individually rented on an annual basis by a member of the public, giving them access to local, healthy food.
“So we ask the public to please respect our community garden spaces. Enjoy them, but please do not take anything from them.
“Each garden is owned by a household that is growing food for personal use. Gardeners rely on what they grow and have invested so much in each plant they have.”