HEARTLESS thieves have stolen from a garden set up to help people struggling with money.
Volunteers discovered last week that their newly established garden at the not-for-profit Bass Coast Adult Learning in Wonthaggi had been burgled, with thieves stealing garden beds, three seedling trays and ripping out produce valued at around $1000.
It’s angered and frustrated volunteers.
But they’re getting back on their feet.
And they say if only thieves had waited and asked, organisers would’ve given the produce to them for free.
They had plans to give it out to anyone who was struggling.
Jess North and Loran McKean, alongside others, have been working non-stop at the garden over the last three weeks.
And it was looking fantastic with garden beds and fresh produce, even a hothouse – which fortunately wasn’t damaged.
“They can cost quite a bit to get fixed,” said Jess.
Loran and Jess were students at Bass Coast Adult Learning (BCAL) and graduated from their horticulture program.
They wanted to create a garden and grow produce which could then be handed out to those in need and used in cooking classes at BCAL.
At the start, they received plenty of seedling donations.
But now they’re effectively starting from scratch again after the theft.
They’re asking for more donations so they can finish what they started because they’re not going anywhere.
“It’s disheartening. We have a beautiful connection with the community,” said Loran.
“Everyone’s gotten onboard and we were almost ready.”
They plan to have a range of beans, herbs, silver beet, crystal apples, bush tucker range, Aboriginal food and more.
It’s called the BCAL Garden Project, although it’s been suggested to call it ‘Rosie’s Garden’ because there’s a blue wren that they’ve named Rosie which regularly visits and occasionally sits on visitors’ shoulders.
Separately, near White Road, there’s the community garden.
Jess created a sign for the garden which reads ‘To plant a garden today is to believe in tomorrow’.
She says working at the garden and getting outside has benefited her mental health.
And it’s a story that echoes true for others who’ve spared a few hours at the garden.
Together, volunteers have fixed up old fencing and other general improvements.
“A lot will come of this,” said Jess.
“It’s the rebirthing of a place that brings people together.”
Any donations would be very much appreciated. Send ‘Bass Coast Adult Learning’ a message on Facebook or just drop-in to their White Road premises and say g’day.