- Associated Press - Saturday, January 21, 2017

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Vandals have damaged or destroyed about three dozen fruit and nut trees and plants at an eastern Iowa community orchard.

Vandals at the Quad-Cities Food Forest broke off about 30 trees at the base, and other plants and trees had tar poured over them, the Quad-City Times reported (https://bit.ly/2kboyc6 ) .

The Food Forest is in Davenport’s Garden Addition on 9 acres of land. Two years ago, volunteers planted 100 small plants that will bear edible fruits, including gooseberry and elderberry bushes and hazelnut and English walnut trees.

Some of the trees are expensive, said Conza Borders, a Food Forest volunteer and incoming president of the group that oversees the property.

“They are not cheap, not easy to come by and not easy to plant,” Borders said.

The intent of the Food Forest is to someday provide produce for anyone who wants to pick it. It’s part of a nationwide movement for edible landscapes, rather than those based on ornamentation or windbreaks.

“It’s not the first time we’ve had vandalism, but it is the first time it’s gone to this extent,” Borders said.

The damage was discovered Wednesday when a Food Forest volunteer drove down to the Garden Addition to check on the trees. That volunteer noticed a pile of cage supports that had once surrounded the trees and put up an alert on the group’s Facebook page.

The Food Forest organization held a work day Saturday to try to repair what damage it could.

“We hope that we get this mess all picked up and put back into place,” Borders said.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com

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