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Arcata Sanctuary Garden vandalized five times in 2022

A photo looking at the corner of a community garden outdoors. There's a white wooden and metal wire fence around the perimeter. Just inside the fence, a large freestanding bulletin board has been knocked to the ground.
Centro Del Pueblo
A large bulletin board was discovered knocked over by vandals on December 27th. The garden is on the corner of 11th and F St. in Arcata, California.

A community garden meant to be a safe haven for migrant families in Humboldt County was vandalized five times last year. Founder and immigrants rights group Centro Del Pueblo is trying to raise money for security.

Team members found a sign destroyed and a padlock on the main gate on December 27.

It was the fifth time the garden was vandalized last year.

“It’s been repeatedly vandalized," said volunteer William Dirks. "Chopping down the vegetables, spray painting the signs, breaking things.”

In a statement, Centro Del Pueblo said, "The impact of locking us out physically has been a recurrent practice of hostility against immigrants. Closing the border, closing the access to health care, education, labor rights, and in this occasion our own project."

This garden was created by Centro Del Pueblo in 2021 to provide a safe space for migrant families. Dirks said many community members bring seeds from their home countries to grow.

“They bring seeds from all over the world to this garden so they can have a little bit of their heritage and their culture and feel comfortable in this space," he said. "Where they can grow food and eat food that’s appropriate to them.”

Dirks said the Arcata police are investigating these incidents as hate crimes, but they have no concrete leads.

Centro Del Pueblo is raising money to install security cameras at the garden to prevent future vandalism.

They hope to have those extra measures finished in the spring.

Roman Battaglia is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the JPR newsroom.