Utica Residents Clean Up Community Garden After Vandalism

Utica Residents Clean Up Community Garden After Vandalism

Instead of spending the day playing in the garden, a small group of Utica residents spent the day cleaning it up. A community garden in Utica was severely vandalized last Friday. Plants were pulled and vegetables ripped out of the ground.
Instead of spending the day playing in the garden, a small group of Utica residents spent the day cleaning it up. A community garden in Utica was severely vandalized last Friday. Plants were pulled and vegetables ripped out of the ground.
The crops can and will be replanted by the founding group For The Good and residents But it is the principle of what was done that has hurt those who enjoy the garden the most.
Jayden Phillips is five years old and lives in Utica. He loves to play in the community garden around the corner from his house.
"What I like here is the berries and I like making plants and watering," said Phillips.
After seeing the garden vandalized a few days ago, Jayden and his friends were devastated.
"I felt like that somebody who did that was wrong and people put a lot of work into that and it was just destroyed,” said 11-year-old Taj’mere Phillips.
"I don't like to see the garden like that,” says 11-year-old Khia. “I love it to be beautiful and let the crops grow out."
This is not the first time the community garden has been vandalized but it is certainly the worst it has ever been damaged. For The Good is filing a police incident report to try and track down the people responsible.
"I wanted to believe that somebody had just mistakenly ripped out the wrong things thinking they were weeding but it was really clear, it was very evident that it was an intentional act,” said Cassandra Harris-Lockwood, President of For The Good.
For The Good won an environmental justice grant for over $48,000 just before the garden was vandalized. Harris-Lockwood says they will use the grant to not only repair the damage, but improve the garden even further for the community.
"Bring more children and more people into the garden as a destination, as a place to learn and play and grow and to grow good food,” said Harris-Lockwood.
For The Good and children in the community will continue to repair the garden and have a message for the people responsible for the vandalism:
"Stop and do not do that anymore because if it would have been your garden you wouldn't like for people to do that to yours,” said Khia.
"Stop doing that, this is my garden,” said Jayden Phillips.
Harris-Lockwood also says the grant may go towards a stronger and sturdier fence to protect the garden from future incidents like this one.

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