CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — You see tomatoes here, although they were grown in the back of the garden.
What you see now looks completely different from just about a week ago. This past summer, Cleveland Heights residents Jay-Rod Johnson and Stephen Walker wanted to find a way to bring people together.
"What better way to do that than a community garden, where Nepalese families who are gardeners by blood, generations deep, and the community could come together and bring that communion that we were looking for?" Johnson asked.
Nepalese families and neighbors came together to plant vegetables here—but last week, Johnson walked in to find the garden vandalized.
"Every plant in the garden [was] uprooted and put into two separate piles, for whatever reason," he lamented. "What they kind of did for the moment was take the life out of the garden."
Walker says those in the Nepalese community who used the garden were left asking why it happened.
"The translator said they were hurt by it, and they didn’t understand why," he said. "There are some people who are evil but we can’t leave that discourage us."
Despite what happened here, the goal of bringing a community together is not lost.
"I immediately felt like it was going to be an opportunity for the team to become bigger and the dream to become stronger," Johnson hoped.
State Rep. Janine Boyd released a statement condemning the vandalism, saying in part, "This week, we will come together to restore a piece of welcoming earth and give root once more to light and kindness. We will brighten the night." Organizers and volunteers are set to come together on Thursday to begin replanting the garden
"We built this to help others, not just us," Walker explained. "That was the whole goal."