During the early hours on Monday, a garden thief steathily made his or her way through downtown Trail and methodically plucked whole plants from more than half a dozen storefront edible gardens.
The organized picking of certain plants and the theft of two planters is reprehensible but will not dampen the spirits or deter the “explore your incrEDIBLE trail ” community from replanting and growing even more edible landscapes in the Silver City.
“The thoughtless acts of one or two people is not going to bring our spirits down,” said Gina Ironmongor, a Trail business owner and spearhead of the edible landscapes iniative. “When you think of who is involved with the project, from employers and employees, volunteers, working moms and seniors on fixed incomes all working together for the benefit of the community,” she continued. “What they’ve done is stolen from these people.”
Ironmonger maintains the plant thefts have brought the growing community even closer together and by Monday afternoon a working mom had already had her stolen plants replaced by a Good Samaritan.
“These are the things that outweigh anything else,” she said. “This is such a positive thing for the community that nothing can really stop us from succeeding at this time.”
Almost 10 downtown businesses were hit, however the plants were removed by the roots and were not discarded on the road or sidewalks.
“With vandalism you’d expect the plants to be thrown on the road,” explained Ironmonger. “This was very systematic like they knew exactly what they wanted,” she noted. “The plants were taken out carefully and I think they knew what they were doing because they also took soil.”
Ironmonger said the culprit targeted mainly strawberry vines, pepper and tomato plants and herbs.
“In our back alley they removed some corn plants but went right by a bunch of tomato plants but then picked one tomato plant out of a planter by the back door,” she explained. “It was so weird but I think somebody’s taken them for their own garden and hopefully we will find the person.”
During Monday’s governance meeting, Trail council heard about the plant thefts from city staff but gave the go-ahead to proceed with edible planters in front of city hall.
“The issue coming forward now deals with vandalism that is occuring,” said David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer. “Last night between one and five a.m. numerous edible gardens were stolen from,” he explained. “But we do have video throughout the town so you would hope we can help identify the culprit(s).”
The “explore our incrEDIBLE trail” initiative launched earlier this year after the city green-lighted a Communities in Bloom committee to invite downtown businesses to grow food and not just flowers in their storefronts this summer.
So far, almost 60 businesses and community services have committed to nurturing edible gardens and the incrEDIBLE green route map is now available to provide a guided tour of downtown and the Gulch so anyone can easily locate the edible planters.
“I think this (thefts) has brought us even closer together,” said Ironmonger. “One person was so disappointed with the selfish people we have in this world,” she added. “But when you look at it from the perspective that when we can grow produce and donate it to the food bank, we see such gratitude.
“So I think we really are blessed.”