Urban orchard vandalized in Church Hill

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Neighbors in a Richmond community are upset after an urban orchard was vandalized. More than 30 fruit trees, maintained by the "Tricycle Gardens" group, were uprooted.

Members of Tricycle Gardens are not only upset- they are shocked by the move. There appears to be no gain for the people than responsible other than to ruin a project that was gaining steam in the Church Hill community.

Most crimes have a clear motive...perhaps financial gain or revenge.

"It is pretty devastating what happen," said Josh Schweizer.

As Josh Schweizer looks over dozens of fruit trees ripped from the ground and just left to die, he wonders why?

"For someone to honestly come and take the time out of their lives to do such a senseless act is mind blowing in itself," he said.

Schweizer is a member of the Tricycle Gardens, a non-profit group that raised money to take dilapidated eye sores in Richmond and turn them into gardens. Gardens that not only look nice, but provide fresh fruit and vegetables to the community.

"It hurts, thinking of all the sweat that was put into that too, not only the money that was put in to buying the trees, but the community effort that was made to get this established," said Schweizer.

Schweizer estimates that the trees have been out of the ground, in the 100 degree heat for as long as a week. He is already working to get them back into the ground, but he is not optimistic they will survive.

"Trees are resilient, there is a lot of money that we put into those trees, so we dug some holes and gave it a go and we will see what happens," he said.

But the garden itself will go on. The trees were a $2,000 investment, and the group is willing to raise the money to plant them again. Unwilling to let something like this slow their project down.

"You've got to be persistent, so going ahead and continuing with the project, as planned, that has got to be the goal," Schweizer said.

The trees were set to produce a variety of fruits including, apples, pears, pomegranates and figs. Tricycle Gardens has vowed to help police bring the people responsible to justice.

This was not the only urban orchard planted by Tricycle Gardens. They are planning a community picnic on Monday for their other orchard, on North 32nd Street.

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