JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Vandals have hit a nonprofit urban farm in Northwest Jacksonville three times in the past three weeks.
White Harvest Farms is a farm that provides fresh produce to the people who live around Moncrief Road. It is Jacksonville’s first Black-owned farm and is on the property of late philanthropist Eartha White.
News4JAX visited White Harvest Farms on Friday and spoke with farm manager Mallory Schott, who has had to call police for the third time in three weeks after someone destroyed the infrastructure of the urban farm.
“There are about 12 sprinklers up here, and every single sprinkler head was broken off, as well as every single valve,” Schott explained.
Not only did they destroy the sprinkler system for the entire farm, they also knocked the pump for the well, which supplies water for this operation.
“When we arrived this morning, it was flooded, and that’s pretty central,” Schott said.
Someone slashed seven tires on tractors and trailers and damaged crops.
“They should be punished because the people in this neighborhood, they’ve been left behind for a long time,” said Clara White Mission CEO and Jacksonville City Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman.
The land that the farm is on is part of the nonprofit Clara White Mission. It provides food and opportunity for people in an area filled with convenience stores and fast-food joints.
Pittman said the vandalism needs to stop. Officers are investigating but don’t have a suspect or suspects as of now.
“If that person is listening to us and thinks this is fun and games, it’s not. You will get caught and we have our measures to doing that,” Pittman said.
We featured this farm months ago through our show called “Solutionaries.” It’s part of a solution for food deserts and lack of nutrition.
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The community garden, where people can come to grow their own food, is out of commission. And until everything gets fixed, farm hands are using buckets to water the most sensitive crops.
Schott said repairing all of this is going to cost at least $10,000 or $15,000. That’s money this charity didn’t budget for.
The group now asking for help from anyone who can.
If you know who’s responsible, call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500. And if you can help make repairs, the managers ask that you contact the Clara White Mission.