Thieves Steal Pomegranate Tree, Plants from Burbank Urban Garden

SACRAMENTO -- Thieves broke into the urban garden at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, stealing a 4-year-old pomegranate tree and several plants.

"Why would anyone steal that? But then I was like, we have some nice plants here, I'm not gonna lie, we do," said Burbank Urban Garden President Esme Gonzalez.

Luther Burbank is the only school in the district with an agricultural department. On around an acre of land, students learn about the food system and gain an understanding of the agricultural process as a whole.

"Yeah, it happened sometime over the weekend. We found out about it Monday when we showed up and found the hole that was cut in the lathe house," said garden instructor Todd McPherson.

Thieves had forced their way into the Burbank Urban Garden.

"It just felt like, like a stab in the back kind of because we give so much. All these students give so much to this program," said senior Ternel Taylor.

The students say they feel a real connection to what they grow in the garden. They plant the seeds, move them to the greenhouse then to the lathe house.

"We have plants to plug into some of these places. Trees a little bit harder," McPherson said. "But it's more just the weight of coming in and taking something from our space. It feels really personal to the students."

"I feel like it's my kid, like, I've got to grow this plant, you know. I've got to take care of it, feed it, water it and stuff like that," Taylor said.

To the students who have spent countless hours tending to their plants, this most recent incident may have shed some light on a larger issue, one Luther Burbank High School wants to get to the root of.

"I mean, hey, if you're hungry and want some plants, you need some food, we'd love to teach you how to grow," McPherson said. "We'll give it to you for free if you'd come talk to us."

The Burbank Urban Garden is holding a fundraiser on May 18 on school grounds.

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