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Fencing, theft & vandalism

  • Subject: [cg] Fencing, theft & vandalism
  • From: "Corrie Zoll" czoll@greeninstitute.org
  • Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2005 16:16:37 -0500
  • Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
  • Thread-index: AcXZhaP1KZBqNbDMSmCAaizpPLa0pgADjZuAAASw5DA=
  • Thread-topic: Fencing, theft & vandalism

Many people who attended the ACGA conference in Minneapolis and Saint Paul in August were taken aback by the fact that - as a rule - our community gardens are NOT fenced in.

Open community gardens do face vandalism problems.  We find that the vandalism is generally worst in the first few years while a garden is establishing its identity in the community.  If neighbors and young people feel like they are welcome whether or not they are plot holders, the gardens are generally free of vandalism.  But I won't try to convince anyone that this is a perfect system.  It's devastating when a gardener loses a crop that's been nurtured all season.

There are actually some people here who think that fencing and locking a site means it is no longer a "community" garden.  I disagree with that sentiment, but I can't convince everyone.

I have had experiences similar to Sally's in which locking a garden only makes it more attractive to break into.  One year I build a six-foot tall walk-in cage covered with chicken wire to set on top of my tomatoes.  I built it to keep out the squirrels, not the vandals.  I never locked the door, and if some of my tomaotoes disappeared I hardly noticed.

But two years later, when I gave the cage to another plot holder in our community garden, he promptly put a lock on the latch.  It was only a few weeks until the chicken wire was kicked in.

Corrie Zoll
Minneapolis



-----Original Message-----
From: community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
[mailto:community_garden-admin@mallorn.com]On Behalf Of Sally McCabe
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 2:41 PM
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: [cg] Fencing, theft & vandalism


Here in Philadelphia we've used every different variation of the fence
idea over time, and one theme has always emerged. Fences are smoke and
mirrors--they're there to mark boundaries--they keep honest people
honest, and keep out dogs and small children. Nothing short of landmines
will keep out a determined thief who wants your tomatoes.

Seedy Acres vegetable garden for 20+ years had a 5-ft turkeywire fence
and sometimes locked gate, and suffered periodic break-ins from
neighborhood kids turning over rocks to hunt snakes and throwing
tomatoes.  It now has an always-locked  fake-wrought-iron fence which is
rigid and easy to climb, and still suffers periodic break-ins from
neighborhood kids turning over rocks to hunt snakes and throwing
tomatoes.  It is in a high-density residential area and has lots of foot
traffic past it at all hours.  Keeping the gate locked at all times
tends to make for less snake-hunters, but nothing keeps out the
hard-core tomato-throwers.

Roots Garden has a wood/wire fence, is located in a neighborhood park,
and has lots of kid & foot traffic. When the gate is kept locked,
there's tremendous vandalism to the gate & fence. After we didn't
replace the fourth destroyed gate/lock, the vandalism stopped. Go
figure.  Tomatoes and fruit still walk, but I've learned over the years
that, with a few notable exceptions, most theft of produce is an
internal matter.

Other gardens have gotten away with post & rail fence, but this works
best with ornamental gardens, especially with more generic ornamentals.
Little xmas-tree-like shrubs will walk even over a 10-ft chainlink fence
with razor-wire.

Tall fences, especially stockade fences, especially NEW fences, give the
impression that you have something to hide, ie., something worth
stealing.


Community relations is EVERYTHING. Vandalism happens whether you have a
fence or not. If somebody wants to destroy your garden, they'll destroy
your garden. If you have a fence, they'll just wreck that first.

Sally McCabe


______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:  https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden


______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:  https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden





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