Lessening Plant & Produce Theft by Design
Produce theft can take place because families are hungry and
short of food. It can also happen because of a lack of
understanding of who can harvest from the garden. Sometimes
garden thieves steal in order to avoid the effort of caring for
food crops and flowers. Put into place different strategies
to address these different kinds of garden interference.
To discourage plant and produce
1. Post a sign in many languages explaining
how to contact and join the community garden. Be clear that
the gardeners are local residents growing food and flowers for
their families. Sometimes people do not understand the
concept of a community garden and think that the produce raised is
for anyone to pick.
2. Set up Tasting Gardens on or near the
outside of the garden perimeter with a sign "Enjoy fresh food when
it is ripe from this Tasting Garden." One way to
do this can be to post the City of Calgary Community and
Nieghbourhood Services sign with "Welcome" in many languages.
Attach the community garden's name and email address to the sign
and add arrow pointing downward to the tasting garden bed.
3. Pick produce as it ripens.
4. Ask gardeners to arrange for another gardener to
pick the ripe produce when they are away or unable to
visit the garden.
5. Prevent harvest waste and neglect.
Put in the gardener's agreement that gardeners leaving ripe produce
in their beds unharvested will be contacted. If the gardener
does not respond, the crops will be harvested and given to an
agency serving Calgarians who do not have access to fresh food.
6. Share surplus produce in an obvious way.
Set up a labelled giveaway basket at the entrance of the garden
that is filled regularly with extra produce for kids needing a
snack or families short on fresh food. Have a sign explaining
"We Share Vegetables with [name of organization, agency serving
7. Consider making several signs for the garden. Include
the email address people can use to join the garden. Use wording
like "Please Respect Our Garden. We're Growing Food for
8. Welcome and get to know neighbours whose
windows overlook the garden. Trade flowers and vegetables for their
watchful observation of the garden.
9. Plant potatoes, other root crops or
delicious but lesser known vegetables such as kohlrabi along the
side walk or fence.
10. Create a cheerful shaded seating area
so people who are not gardeners will spend time in the garden
11. Plant unusual varieties of vegetables
in the garden beds that are not quickly identified such as purple
beans, orange cheddar cauliflower or white eggplant.
12. Grow tomatoes in a large container at your
home (not at the community garden).
13. Adjust the garden design using
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design