Vandals have damaged the prized vegetable garden planted by students of Stetser Elementary School next to their playground area; a garden effort that once won praise from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Plants were tossed and pulled out of the soil and wooden planks supporting raised growing beds were broken and scattered across the garden. Splintered pieces of wood and potholes in the soil make the once beautiful garden an eyesore and Janet Baldwin, the school principal, is asking for help to repair the damage done.
“Anyone who knows construction, but I think if there is somebody with some skill, all we need to do is get boards like that and notch them and redo them,” pleaded Baldwin.
It was only two summers ago when students were invited to the White House to participate in Michelle Obama’s garden planting event as a reward for their dedication to growing healthy foods in their school garden. The children have, since then, maintained six, 4’ x 8’ raised garden beds growing fresh vegetables including blueberry bushes, which were uprooted by vandals on May 2nd.
“They did a number. There was someone who saw two teenagers. I called the police and gave them all the information we had, you know, possible ages; they were white and took off that way,” said Baldwin.
The principal said she’s not aiming to get anyone arrested at this point she just wants to see the garden repaired. There were plans to place a bench near the garden and to dedicate it to a nine year-old girl who perished in a house fire last August.
“It’s sad because the children worked so hard on this and we were getting ready to dedicate a bench to Amajhay Ferguson but we can’t have a dedication with everything looking like this,” lamented Baldwin.
The raised beds are made of wooden kits that were purchased from Home Depot. Baldwin has asked Home Depot for help and is still waiting to hear from them but is asking for help from anyone who could help repair the raised beds.