North

Vegetable thieves raiding Whitehorse's community garden

Somebody's been digging around in the Downtown Urban Gardeners Society's (DUGS) community garden in Whitehorse, and helping themselves to some free produce.

'The last thing we want at the community garden is a little camera on a pole'

The Whitehorse Community Garden offers downtown apartment and condo-dwellers a space to cultivate their own garden plots. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

It's harvest time at the community garden in downtown Whitehorse, but not every picker or digger is supposed to be there. Some folks have been helping themselves to other people's veggies.

"We have had some enthusiastic people come forward and say, 'we need to catch these people, we need stakeouts, we need to have surveillance cameras,'" said Randy Lamb of the Downtown Urban Gardeners Society (DUGS).

"But the last thing we want at the community garden is a little camera on a pole, and 'Big Brother is watching you.'"

'We have had some enthusiastic people come forward and say, 'we need to catch these people," said Randy Lamb of the Downtown Urban Gardeners Society (DUGS). (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

The community garden on Seventh Avenue is meant to provide downtown apartment and condo dwellers — in other words, people without yards — with a space to tend their own small garden plot.

Tools and hoses are shared communally, but gardeners typically enjoy their own produce. Some food is also grown for the local food bank.

According to Lamb, though, not everybody in town seems to understand the concept. So it's not always willful thievery that makes carrots and peas disappear. 

"I ran into this very pleasant lady with a box of vegetables leaving the garden — nobody recognized her — and she goes, 'Oh, do you garden here?'" Lamb said.

"And I go, 'Yeah', and she says, 'oh this is so great. I want to thank you having this so we can go and get vegetables whenever we need them'."

Some gardeners have posted signs on their plots. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

DUGS has now posted signs at the gardens, advising people that helping themselves to vegetables "is STEALING," and that "this is not a public 'self serve.'" 

Some growers have posted similar signs on their own plots.

"We have been working really hard all spring and summer to make food for our family, please do not take any more," one sign reads.

Lamb says some gardeners won't even grow certain vegetables that seem to disappear more than others.

With files from Mike Rudyk

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