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A school garden tended by students at Ecole Marie-Anne-Gaboury was vandalized over the weekend. But a generous donation has given the garden new roots.

Samantha Hudon, a grade two/three teacher at Ecole Marie-Anne-Gaboury, started a sustainability project with her class this year. The idea was to plant a garden and take care of it as it eventually grew to produce mature vegetables.

marie anne gardenThe grade two and three class at Ecole Marie-Anne-Gaboury gathers around their class garden "This is going to give us the chance to donate all the produce that we're going to harvest in the fall to Winnipeg Harvest," Hudon explained.

Ilya Deljani and Alexandra Wojciechowski, both grade two students at Marie-Anne-Gaboury, said they were excited to plant the garden.

"You get to help people who don't have food," Wojciechowski said. 

On Monday, June 4, the class arrived at school, excited to water and weed the garden after a weekend away. Instead of a pristine garden, they found their plants uprooted, broken, and thrown across the schoolyard.

"Someone, I don't know who, pulled out all our plants, and it made me mad and sad," expressed Deljani. "The reason why mad is because that's disrespectful and the reason why sad is because we put a lot of effort and work into it."

Hudon said that every plant from the two gardens that had been planted had been pulled out. The pepper plants were broken in half and the tomato cages were bent and twisted. One was missing entirely. 

"We tried to replant what we could right away," Hudon said. She said it was actually the student's idea to replant them. "But a lot of the plants, especially the peppers, didn't survive."

The tomato plants are coming back nicely, she said, but everything else was lost.

"Someone, I don't know who, pulled out all our plants, and it made me mad and sad."

"It was extremely unfortunate that something so negative would happen when we're trying to do something so positive for the community," Hudon sighed.

"I felt sad because we put a lot of effort into it," Wojciechowski added.

Hudon said one of the students went home and told his parents about what had happened. Seeing how devastated the kids were, the parents donated all the plants they had bought for their own place, so the kids could once again have a thriving garden.

"(The kids) were very excited, because their favourite part is digging the holes and putting the plants in," Hudon smiled. "They got a second turn at doing the most fun part."

Sunberry, tomato, lettuce, cauliflower, and peppers are all growing in the garden currently. The students in grade two and three have watered and weeded the garden daily which Hudon hopes teaches the kids about the importance of plants and about giving back to others who aren't as fortunate as they are.

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