‘This is what they are destroying … a garden that we used to feed ourselves’

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

A community garden is a great way to connect with neighbors and slow down amid the fast pace of modern life. 

Seattle residents had been enjoying a community garden they’d planted in 2020 in Cal Anderson Park as part of the Black Lives Matter protests — until the city decided to rip it up and replace it with turf. 

TikToker Lynn Loheide (@lynnloheide), presumably a regular volunteer at the memorial garden, shared a video of the heartbreaking event, explaining the significance of the garden

@lynnloheide ♬ original sound – Lynn Loheide

“This is what they are destroying. A garden that we used to feed ourselves, that we used to feed the community, that we used to come together as a community,” Lynn said. “They are just ripping out plants that grow vegetables, and fruit, and herbs for us all spring and summer and feed an entire community here.”

Lynn added that hundreds of locals and businesses backed the garden, and the city “implied” to the garden’s organizers they could discuss it further at a town hall. However, Black Star Farmers — the group that managed the garden — and Seattle Parks never agreed on a new site, as the Seattle Times reported

Seattle Parks and Recreation removed it in December 2023 because of the city’s concerns about “unsafe conditions” for park visitors, including vandalism, public drug use, and illegal camping. 

However, volunteers said they kept the area clean and believed the city’s actions were an act of violence against the poor and working-class people who benefited from the garden. 

Residents, volunteers, and Black Star Farmers could only watch in anguish as the city tore up the native plants, food, and herbs they had worked tirelessly to grow over the years.

There’s still some hope for the garden’s future, though, as the city said it would continue reaching out to community activists about relocating it within Cal Anderson Park or other Seattle area parks. 

However, it’s unclear if the gardeners are ready to negotiate as they mourn the loss of the memorial garden that symbolized self-sufficiency, food sovereignty, and healing. 

“I can just never imagine how the people who are doing this can see themselves as anything other than the villains,” one TikToker said on the video. 

“This made me cry; I’m so, so sorry. You all worked so hard for that,” another person said, adding a teary-eyed emoji and a heart.

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