Mother whose allotment helped feed 1,600 people during cost-of-living crisis welcomes police investigation after ‘evil’ vandals destroyed it with 5kg of salt
- Carly Burd was devastated after her allotment in Harlow was destroyed with salt
- The 43-year-old starting growing her own produce to give to others in July 2022
- Essex Police have launched an investigation which Ms Burd says she welcomes
A mother who created an allotment which helped those worst hit by the cost-of-living crisis has welcomed a police investigation after the garden was targeted by vandals.
Carly Burd, from Harlow, Essex, first started growing fruit and vegetables in her garden in July 2022 to give to vulnerable members of her local community.
Earlier this year, the 43-year-old secured an allotment space so she could grow more produce, but she was left devastated earlier this week when she found the space had been destroyed by vandals, who poured 5kg of salt onto her crops.
While the ordeal has been ‘heart-wrenching’, the mother-of-three has welcomed a police investigation after she reported the incident to the police.
Ms Burd, the creator of the A Meal On Me With Love initiative, which grows and distributed fruit, vegetables and other essentials to those on benefits, low incomes and pensioners, said: ‘It was heart-wrenching.
Carly Burd was left devastated earlier this week when she found her allotment had been destroyed by vandals, who poured 5kg of salt onto her crops
Ms Burd took to social media to share images of the damaged allotment she had spent so long cultivating
‘What made it worse is that yesterday, the children that helped me plant it actually turned up, and it just broke me. They were so lovely they said ‘it’s okay, we can replant it’.
‘They’ve worked so hard. They’ve put the effort in and we’re trying to make a change – it’s upsetting.’
She previously confirmed 5kg of salt was used to carry out the act.
‘I came down on Saturday morning and I just tasted and saw [the salt]’, she said.
‘Five kilograms plus of salt has been poured over my garden. It wasn’t a kid grabbing it – it was an adult who knew what they were doing.’
She added that she has ‘never felt such hate’ but urged the culprits to contact her.
‘I’ve never felt such hate’, she said. ‘I get on with everyone in my community. I want to say to whoever did it, I’m here if you want to talk to me. No aggression intended, that’s not my style.
‘It won’t leave my lips and it won’t go out to anyone, but come and talk to me. I’m not a threat to anyone. I’ll be there and support you, and I’ll do everything I can to support you.
‘I can’t understand why somebody would do something so hurtful, but I’m here for a chat’.
Ms Burd, from Harlow, Essex, first started growing fruit and vegetables in her garden in July 2022 to give to vulnerable members of her local community
Ms Burd previously confirmed that five kilograms of salt was used to carry out the act
Ms Burd said what happened was ‘heart-wrenching’ and that she has ‘never felt such hate’
Essex Police visited Ms Burd’s allotment earlier this week and conducted door-to-door inquiries
READ MORE: I’m on disability benefits and turned my flowerbeds into an allotment amid the cost-of-living crisis – now I’ve fed almost 800 people with my home-grown vegetables
Carly and her son Jude in the garden before it became an allotment
Ms Burd, who lives with multiple sclerosis and lupus, started growing her own food after getting into a ‘panic’ when news of the cost-of-living first broke.
At the time, she couldn’t afford to buy planters so set about making her own out of scrap wood in summer 2022.
Within three weeks, she was growing her own potatoes, carrots, turnips, swede and leeks and started sharing her vegetables with other people who were struggling in the community.
‘I’m just a girl that grew a carrot… I didn’t know anything about growing,’ she said. ‘I just had to do it, I had no choice.
‘I went without heating last year, and what was I supposed to do this year, go without food?’
She has been overwhelmed by people’s support as her GoFundMepage, which was backed by Gary Lineker, nears the £240,000 mark.
‘I’m just a girl that loves the outside’, she said. ‘I don’t watch TV and I only go on my little TikTok or my Facebook account, because I was encouraging the community to join in and that’s it. So this is all completely blown me away.
‘My volunteers have put so much work in and it’s just heart-wrenching. But I can’t let it get me down because it makes you feel worse… I have to carry on.’
She said she is ‘really looking forward’ to repairing her allotment with the help of the people who previously came to plant 300 onions and 300 potatoes.
Essex Police visited Ms Burd’s allotment earlier this week and conducted door-to-door inquiries. It is believed the incident happened between 2pm on April 7 and 9pm on April 8.
Ms Burd, who lives with multiple sclerosis and lupus, started growing her own food after getting into a ‘panic’ when news of the cost-of-living first broke
Carly has helped to feed 1,600 people by sharing her local produce with the community
Within three weeks, Ms Burd was growing her own potatoes, carrots, turnips, swede and leeks and started sharing her vegetables with other people who were struggling in the community.
Chief Inspector Paul Austin, District Commander for Harlow, issued an appeal for witnesses and anyone with CCTV or doorbell footage of the incident to come forward.
‘Carly is naturally devastated about this mindless act, which has caused real harm to her efforts to help those most in need in Harlow,’ he said.
‘However, it is striking how determined she is to ensure this act does not stop her good work. The support she has received both here in the community and from across the country has been truly heart-warming.
‘We take all matters of criminal damage seriously and are conducting a thorough investigation. We need anyone who may have information about this incident to come forward, your reports to us do matter and make a huge difference.’
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