The community garden in town started in 1998 and expanded to 51 plots a couple years ago. It’s mostly food production with a few flowers and pollinators mixed in. Demand for more plots is high with a huge waiting list. This town has the largest population per capita of retirees in the valley.
A few years back, the local paper had an streak of angry letters to the editor, railing about theft and vandalism happening in the garden. Blaming ‘vagrants’ and ‘drifters’ for not only stealing vegetables but destroying them too. ‘My tomato plants were all smashed up. Sunflowers broken! Someone has to catch these fiends!’ I found the letters amusing, imagining Hobo’s stuffing their brindle’s with carrots and swiss chard, pissing on basil, gleefully tossing pots and pulling up corn.
At dawn, I was driving past the community garden to a carpentry job I had in the next village over. As the sky lit up, I could see silhouettes of a deer herd standing in the planter boxes, gorging themselves on tender greens, stepping on cabbages, knocking down trellises. I laughed myself all the way to work. There’s now a ten foot high fence around the garden.