Purloined produce: Veggie theft more common as number of community gardens grows, new city committee hears

Veggies are going missing by the bushel as a result of what Winnipeg's parks and open spaces division describes as the somewhat pervasive theft of vegetables from community gardens.

Theft of produce from community gardens was reported to city hall's new Winnipeg Food Council Friday

Winnipeg now has 234 community garden plots. About 20 of them were hit by produce thieves in 2017, city naturalist Rodney Penner said. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

Carrots and potatoes are going missing by the bushel as a result of what Winnipeg's parks and open spaces division describes as the somewhat pervasive theft of vegetables from community gardens.

City naturalist Rodney Penner told city hall's new Winnipeg Food Council on Friday that lettuce larceny, radish robbery and other forms of produce misappropriation have become more common as the number of community gardens grows in the city.

There are now 234 community garden plots in Winnipeg, half of them serviced by the city, Penner told the council during its inaugural meeting.​ The new committee, chaired by St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes, deals with food security issues.

Thefts were reported at about 20 community garden plots in 2017, said Penner, adding his division only knows about the incidents that gardeners report. 

Committee members cited the availability of water as a far more pressing concern for community gardens. The food council voted to ask Winnipeg's water and waste committee to consider making water available for free to community gardens.

The new committee has the power to forward reports through the legislative channels at city hall, all the way up to city council as a whole.