In the last few weeks, a string of thefts has shaken my community garden. First, one gardener lost her large, succulent tomatoes, the first of the season. Then someone else had yellow squash go missing. And just yesterday, I noticed a hole where my best red onions should be.
Usually, when gardeners tell stories of produce thefts, the culprit is a gopher or rabbit. But in this busy Jackson Park park, whatever is taking our produce is almost certainly a person.
Since the vegetables began to disappear, I have been struggling to figure out what, exactly, to feel toward the thief. Rage seems the most obvious, if unpleasant, way to respond. In other moments I have felt philosophical (What is a tomato anyway?), idealistic (We should just grow enough produce for everyone), and even naively hopeful (Maybe the thief made ratatouille).
So I’d like to ask you, dear readers, to provide counsel by way of your own stories: How have you reacted to the disappearance of your own vegetables? What’s the best way to cope with this almost inevitable disappointment?
— Christopher Weber