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BEHIND THE SCENES: Donation garden suffers suspected chemical attack

SooToday reporter Alex Flood takes us behind the scenes

A local woman, Trista Pino, who has been running a donation garden near Bell's Point Beach Campground in Garden River, experienced a devastating chemical attack that destroyed nearly 40% of her plants. Pino has been growing fruits and vegetables to combat food insecurity in the area and donates around 90% of her harvest to the community. The attack left her plants drooping, with some showing signs of melting leaves, and a strong chemical smell was evident in the garden.

Pino initially suspected blight but later realized her garden had been targeted with a chemical spray. She filed a police report, but without evidence or eyewitnesses, the police couldn't take further action. To protect her garden in the future, Pino installed trail cameras and plans to add better security measures. Despite the setback, Pino received overwhelming support from the community on social media, encouraging her to continue her efforts in the garden, which she credits with helping her recover from addiction six years ago.

The attack impacted approximately 40% of the garden, with tomatoes, beans, melons, and lettuce suffering the most damage. Pino is determined to rebuild and continue her mission to support those in need through her donation garden.

Video Summary:

A local woman, Trista Pino, runs a donation garden near Bell's Point Beach Campground, and recently her garden suffered a suspected chemical attack, resulting in nearly 40% of her plants being destroyed. Authorities from the OPP in Sault Ste. Marie has been involved, but they are uncertain about the motive behind the attack, as there were no cameras to capture evidence. Pino has taken steps to improve security by installing trail cameras, brighter lights, and considering additional fencing.

The local community responded with overwhelming support on social media, with hundreds of positive comments and reactions. While some debate whether it was a chemical attack or a plant disease, Pino remains confident that it was an intentional attack due to the path of destruction observed in her garden. Experts from the gardening community have been consulted, but it's challenging to determine the exact cause of the damage.

As of now, there is no specific support available for victims of such agricultural crimes on a municipal level. However, people have reached out to help Pino with her financial loss, and she continues to find ways to give back to the community despite the setback. Pino has replanted a significant portion of her garden and is donating the produce to those in need.