Winston-Salem church’s community garden vandalized

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A community garden grown by a Winston-Salem church and utilized to feed those in need has been vandalized.

Members of Green Tree Baptist Church said they came to work on the 'Sharing Manna Garden' on South Broad Street over the weekend to discover the plants had been trampled, the fence torn down, and chemicals had apparently been sprayed on the plants that weren't destroyed by hand.

Nancy Hartwig said the vegetables were being used to feed needy church members as well as seniors on fixed incomes at assisted living centers across the city. 

"Now the vegetables that are there -- we can't give them to anyone because they have been sprayed with who knows what," Nancy Hartwig said.

Frank Hartwig said the garden was beginning to yield lots of vegetables.

"I felt bad about it because we had just gotten it to the place where we had enough good available produce to really make a dent in the need in the neighborhood," Frank Hartwig said.

While heartbroken, the church members say they aren't mad because they believe whoever is responsible is troubled.  Furthermore, they said they'd like to help whoever it was.

"We would want them, within gracious limits, to realize what they did was wrong and (that they) shouldn't do it again," Frank Hartwig said.  "But at the same time, we would reach out and find out what their needs are and try to reach those needs." 

While police are investigating, the congregation plans to replant the garden, which consisted of tomatoes, green beans, peppers, squash, okra, peas, and other vegetables.