Foodlink recovering from vandalism, asks for community's support

(WHAM photo)

Police are still looking for the vandals who tore through a Foodlink garden Friday night. The motive still unclear

Folks at Foodlink are now trying to regroup and clean up. They say garden vandalism is a trend that's affecting the entire community.

Nathanial Mich helps run the garden. He says hundreds of people need this garden to rely less on food stamps and grow the foods they cannot get at the grocery store.

Mich walked 13WHAM through the community garden on Lexington Avenue, a garden dozens of families need.

“They grow medicine here. They grow foods that are religiously important, things that you can't buy in stores,” Mich explained.

Now, he's trying to fix the mess left behind by vandals.

“You can see where they just took out. This bed also got hit pretty bad,” he said as he pointed to Swiss chards. “It makes the space feel a little less safe.”

The garden is maintained by neighbors, and some are refugees from Bhutan, Nepal, Somalia, and Syria.

“They were professional farmers, they were food tree growers, bee keeps, so they're bringing this really deep knowledge base and set of skills with them,” Mich went on.

Each family is assigned a few plots to grow. In all, they produce 5,000 pounds of food for 60 families each year.

“That's a lot of vegetables for 4-6 folks per family, so it is certainly something that they rely on," said Mich. "Access to good clean food, the foods that they know and love.”

Now, looking at dozens of damaged plants, Mich hopes this will spark more community support for the garden, a garden that's been a support to those in need and a safe space for many.

“None of them are going to stop gardening because of this,” he added. “We're not going to stop doing the work we're doing, and we're not going to stop reaching out to the neighborhood either.”

Mich is asking gardeners not to come alone, and to only come during the day. He says they are going to put up motion sensor cameras for better security. Foodlink is taking donations to recover from the roughly $1,000 in damages here.

If you know anything about this vandalism, call Crime Stoppers at 423-9300.

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