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West Oakland Community Garden Trashed By Vandals, Possibly Over Gentrification

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Christin-Ayers_BIO-HEAD Christin Ayers
Christin Ayers is a general assignment reporter for KPIX 5 Eyewitness...
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OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — There’s a mess at one West Oakland community garden after vandals were reportedly targeting more than just vegetables.

Pictures show a West Oakland community garden trashed. Fences are kicked in, tools are flung far and wide.

“A lot of just shock,” said City Slicker Farms Executive Director Ariel Dekovic. “The end of this bed, a lot of these plants were uprooted so they’re not doing very well now.”

Three months worth of vegetables ripped from their beds, the farm’s chickens released and roaming free.

“They respond to stress,” Dekovic said. “So they’re going to be laying less as a result of this.”

The eggs and vegetables were supposed to go to hundreds of neighbors who depend on the weekly stand at City Slicker Farms, which sells the vegetables at a discount.

“This is an attack on the community and that’s what’s really heartbreaking about it,” Dekovic said.

The most extensive damage was to the fencing. Workers at City Slickers Farms say it’s going to cost thousands to replace.

Neighbors told KPIX 5 they can’t imagine who would do this.

“There was really no rationale to target it,” said neighbor Ben Delgado. “It’s something that brought a lot of positive things to the community.”

But workers at City Slicker wonder whether their harvest was the latest causality in a fight against redevelopments in West Oakland.

A fight came to a head in June when vandals wearing hoodies were captured on surveillance camera hurling rocks through the windows of a new West Oakland coffee shop called Kilovolt.

Dekovic says if this is part of the gentrification backlash, “It’s just really misguided.”

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