Thieves take produce from Dickinson’s community garden

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Community gardens are a great place for people without a yard to grow their own food. But in Dickinson, someone spoiled the party by plucking up produce that belonged to others.

Bette Madler spends hours each week at Peace Lutheran Church’s community garden.

“The beans, they’ve grown this much since yesterday,” said Bette Madler, Dickinson.

It’s part of why her recent discovery here was so upsetting.

“You can see blank spaces along here where there have been onions taken,” said Madler.

Twenty onions and carrots were taken from her plots.

“I was flabbergasted, but then I was not very happy about it really, I don’t mind sharing, but I like to choose when and how much,” said Madler.

And she isn’t the only one with missing plants.

“There’s some larger pumpkins growing here and here, and this family put a lot of time and effort into this space,” said Mike Pretzer, Peace Lutheran Church pastor.

Pretzer says the family is missing pumpkins and corn on the cob. He says growers pay for seeds and pay $25 for a space in the garden. They also spend countless hours caring for their plants.

“Water it, they weed it, they tend it, and then of course at the end of the season, they get to harvest the fruit of their labor, so when that fruit is taken from them, it’s a huge disappointment,” said Pretzer.

So, they have a message for the community. Just because it is called the community garden, doesn’t mean it’s finders keepers.

“It’s not a garden where all of the produce is going to a community organization, or for anybody to just come and take from it,” said Pretzer.

And if you ask first, he says most gardeners are always willing to share. The pastor says this is the first time someone has stolen produce.

If the problem persists, he says they will have to take extra security measures.

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