A tearful mother whose allotment set up to feed hard-hit families during the cost-of-living crisis was vandalized described the “heartbreaking” moment when she realized the onions her children had planted had been destroyed.
Carly Burd, 43, from Harlow, Essex, has since revisited the fruit and vegetable garden after it was targeted by ‘cruel’ vandals who smashed the produce with 5kg of salt.
The mother-of-three recalled the damage, saying that “all you can taste is salt in the air” and that she had to keep drinking water to get rid of the taste.
In a tearful TikTok video, she continued, “I think about the onions the kids planted, and they sat there and they even said to me, ‘Who is this going to? I said ‘it will go to a family that needs it’.
And bless them for being so excited to do it. it’s heartbreaking because when you see all their little onions get destroyed and those onions would have fed 300 families.”
Cary Burd, 43, from Harlow, Essex, told her followers she has since revisited the fruit and vegetable garden since it was targeted by vandals who smashed the produce with 5kg of salt
Essex Police have launched an investigation into the act of vandalism, but no arrests have been made at this time
The act of vandalism which has generated a wave of support from members of the public after a clip went viral prompted Essex Police to launch an investigation.
Today, police said it is continuing their investigation and has not made any arrests at this time.
Ms Burd said she was overwhelmed by people’s support when her GoFundMe page, which was supported by presenter Gary Lineker, crossed the £245,000 mark.
However, despite the support, Ms. Burd has also been attacked by trolls who wondered why no visible plants were growing at this time of year.
But when she took to TikTok to thank her followers for the support, she said, “I’m just a mom with three kids, I don’t use the internet, I don’t watch TV.
Fruit and vegetable produce, including enough onions to feed 300 families, was ruined when a vandal salted Mrs Burd’s allotment garden
‘I like being outside. And please understand the fact that I have no idea about the internet or what to do. I’m learning along the way.
“I started this myself. I am absolutely so thankful for all the support and help I get because I know nothing.
“I just planted a carrot and it was blown in here.”
Ms Burd started growing fruit and vegetables in her garden last July to give to vulnerable members of her local community, and has now fed 1,600 people.
She created the A Meal On Me With Love initiative, which grows and distributes fruits, vegetables and other necessities to people on benefits, low incomes and retirees.
She previously appealed to the perpetrator to ‘talk to me’, while suspecting that another grower was targeting the allotment garden.
She said, “I get along 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 will not leave my lips and it will not go out to anyone, but come and talk to me. I am not a threat to anyone. I will be there and support you, and I will do everything I can to support you.
“I can’t understand why someone would do something so hurtful, but I’m here for a chat.”
Talking about wanting to help others during the cost-of-living crisis, Ms Burd, who lives with multiple sclerosis and lupus, started growing her own food after she “panicked” when news of rising food prices broke.
At the time, she couldn’t afford to buy planters, so she decided to make her own planters out of scrap wood in the summer of last year.
Within three weeks she was growing her own potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabaga and leeks and began sharing her vegetables with other struggling people in the community.
“I’m just a girl who grew a carrot… I knew nothing about growing,” she said. “I just had to do it, I had no choice.
Carly Burd was devastated when she discovered earlier this week that her allotment had been vandalized by vandals who sprinkled 5kg of salt on her crops.
Ms Burd took to social media to share images of the damaged allotment she had worked on for so long
‘Last year I had no heating, and what was I supposed to do this year, without food?’
Essex Police visited Mrs Burd’s allotment garden last week and conducted door-to-door inquiries.
The incident is believed to have happened between 2pm on April 7 and 9pm on April 8.
Superintendent Paul Austin, district commander for Harlow, called for witnesses and anyone with CCTV or doorbell footage of the incident to come forward.
Ms Burd, from Harlow, Essex, started growing fruit and vegetables in her garden in July 2022 to give to vulnerable members of her local community
“Carly is obviously devastated by this mindless act, which has really hurt her efforts to help the most needy in Harlow,” he said.
What is striking, however, is how determined she is to ensure that this act does not interfere with her good work. The support she has received both here in the community and from across the country has been truly heartwarming.
“We take all cases of criminal damage seriously and conduct a thorough investigation. We need anyone who may have information about this incident to come forward, your reports to us matter and make a huge difference.”