Garlic thieves underline increasing thefts at community gardens


I was the victim of garden theft and witnessed it no more than 20 metres away. I spent the morning weeding, cleaning and beautifying the space at the Terra Nova Community Garden when my perfect day ended day in horror. I sat down to reflect after seven hours of toil and noticed a well-dressed Chinese couple squatting down around my garlic bed. It took no longer than 30 seconds before the lady pulled out a clump of my produce.

I immediately approached the couple and informed them that this produce did not belong to them. They stood up and looked at me without a glimmer of shame and the gentleman indicated that they did not speak English. I told them that the produce was not free and that they should go to the supermarket to buy garlic instead of taking mine. The lady buried the garlic back into its spot and the couple walked to the parking lot and left in their BMW.

Theft is a common occurrence at community gardens and is happening with increasing frequency. What makes people who have the resources take without permission? Is this the new world order? If so I am at a loss.

I would like to ask members of my community who work with all groups of non-English speakers to reaffirm the basic human values of mindfulness and respect.

Lastly, to the couple that ended my day? Please come back and visit my garden space. Admire the beauty and wonder of my labour. Stop and speak with me. Share in the joy of what I am trying to accomplish. I would like to build a stronger community that includes you.

Ian Lai


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