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Site of 7-year-old's murder to become community garden

Vacant lot will be used as community spot to remember Somer Thompson

Somer Thompson disappears while walking home from Grove Park Elementary School on Oct. 19, 2009.
Somer Thompson disappears while walking home from Grove Park Elementary School on Oct. 19, 2009.

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – The mother of 7-year-old Clay County girl who was kidnapped, raped and murder just blocks from her home announced new plans for the vacant lot where the house of her daughter's killer once stood.

Diena Thompson announced the Somer Thompson Foundation will partner with a local grassroots group, Bring Food Forests To Northeast Florida, to create a food forest on the vacant lot.

"We're going to plant all kinds of fruits and vegetables and herbs and plants and we're going to feed the community with it," Thompson said in an exclusive announcement on The Morning Show.

About two hours after the fire was set, there was nothing left of the house but brick walls and burning embers.
About two hours after the fire was set, there was nothing left of the house but brick walls and burning embers.

On Feb. 10, the home at 1152 Gano Avenue was burned to the ground as part of a training exercise for Clay County firefighters. The home had gone into foreclosure and the bank had turned ownership over to the Somer Thompson Foundation.

Jarred Harrell lured the 7-year-old into the home that was on the lot. He molested and murdered her there in October of 2009 and is now serving a life sentence.

Food forests promote permaculture principles and are characterized as a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables.

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"Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought of something like this and thanks to the people that I've gotten together with. They've come up with this great idea," Thompson said.

Ground breaking on Somer's Garden is scheduled for the weekend of Saturday, April 11.

BFFTNEF will handle the design, management and installation of this project, and is actively seeking volunteers, sponsors and donations to bring this incredible plan to fruition.