Foodlink cleans up after it says vandals destroyed urban garden
Rochester, N.Y. (13WHAM) - What started as a normal Saturday for gardeners at the urban garden on Lexington Ave. quickly turned into a cleanup project.
"It was a bunch of relatively minor things that all together are a bit of gut punch," said Nathaniel Misch, a coordinator with Foodlink who helps run the Lexington Ave. garden.
Misch says vandals broke in overnight, slashed the plastic to the greenhouse, cut down plants and fruit trees, dumped fertilizer over the farm tools, and more.
Misch says around 60 refugee families also share the space with Foodlink to grow food. Lachuman Pokhrel, who came to Rochester from Nepal, has volunteered at the garden for six years. He says he grows food there for his family.
I'm upset. Very, very sad," said Pokhrel.
He was among the few volunteers helping to clean up the garden Saturday morning.
"It's almost 300 people that eat the food out of this garden and put their heart and souls into it, and we put a lot of work into it, too," said Misch. Misch estimates the vandals caused about $1000 in damages, most of which was due to a broken chain fence, and stolen weed-whacker and machete.
"I think they just used the machete as they gave themselves a tour of the garden," said Misch.
The vandals not only damaging Foodlink's property, but also food that could have gone to better use.
"It's the investment of people's time and spirit that's damaged more than anything," said Misch.