Garden vegetables and plants lay scattered amongst trampled fencing at the Tewksbury Community Garden

Garden vegetables and plants lay scattered amongst trampled fencing at the Tewksbury Community Garden, located behind the public library. The garden was vandalized by an individual on Sunday morning. Tewksbury police were able to apprehend the person. (Paige Impink photo)

TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Library Com­munity Garden was vandalized early Sunday morning. Police responded to reports of a woman sifting through the library dumpster at 300 Chandler St., tossing trash around the area.

Meanwhile, garden co-manager Peggy Bridges had arrived at the garden, located behind the library, to do some end-of season cleanup in the garden and noticed the police cars. When she walked up to the garden, she discovered the damage and called the police officers over.

Further investigation showed that the garden was heavily damaged. Fence posts were pulled out, vegetables were strewn about according to garden members fa­miliar with the situation.

Sona Kazanjian, a garden member, said her to­matoes, green and not yet ripe, had been pulled off and thrown around. Fencing was flattened, and heads of lettuce, zucchini and other vegetables were scattered about. Some of the garden items, such as a hummingbird feeder, were found on the ground.

Sunflowers were up­root­ed, stalk and all, and apparently carried and placed in other parts of the garden. Flowers by the bunches were pulled up and arranged in an apparent makeshift display by the individual.

Bridges notified garden members of the incident. Several members went right over to the garden and began the clean up and restoration.

“We have a great group of people, who really care about the garden. With all the help, we were able to have the garden clean­ed up in a couple of hours,” said Bridges.

The damage was equally dispersed between the 18 individual gardens and the 25 community beds. Community beds are joint­ly cared for by the volunteers, and the bounty of those beds are sold at the community market or donated to the community pantry. In fact, the garden just sent 60 pounds of potatoes to the Tewks­bury Community Pantry, according to garden co-manager Lauren Cunning­ham.

The produce is for sale every Thursday at the Tewksbury Community Market and also in the library on a cart. Pro­ceeds cover the garden operating costs, allowing the group to grown more produce to donate to the pantry.

Cunningham said mem­bers were sad for the loss of the harvest and the hard work that people had put in, but anything physical was re­pairable or replaceable. It is also near the end of the growing season.

“Tough end to a difficult growing season,” said Cunningham, due to the rain and extreme temperatures.

Members also feel em­pathy for the person.

Bridges said, “I am ex­tremely grateful for the fact that nobody was hurt, including the wo­man herself. We have sharp tools in the shed, but she did not go into the sheds at all. I hope she is able to get the help she needs.”

According to the Tewks­bury Police Department, the woman was arrested on warrants, and also charged with vandalism.

Residents are encouraged to visit the Tewks­bury Community market on Thursday, Sept. 23 behind the Rec Center on Livingston Street to purchase produce from the garden or make a donation. Additionally, garden members will be at Tewksbury’s Fall Fes­tival on Sunday, Sept. 26 at Livingston Street where they will have information about applying for a plot in next year’s garden.

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