Carly Burd, 43, from Harlow, Essex, was “heartbroken” to find that vandals had covered her allotment with 5kg of salt to stop her growing fruit and veg, with police now investigating the incident.
She said she has “never felt such hate”, but she has called on the culprits to get in touch with her and says she is “here for a chat”.
“No aggression intended, that’s not my style. It won’t leave my lips and it won’t go out to anyone, but come and talk to me,” she added.
“I’m not a threat to anyone. I’ll be there and support you, and I’ll do everything I can to support you. I can’t understand why somebody would do something so hurtful, but I’m here for a chat.”
Ms Burd had already set up a GoFundMe campaign when her allotment was destroyed, but donations have soared since the discovery, raising nearly £250,000 with donors including Gary Lineker.
The green-fingered mum started her “A Meal on Me With Love” project in July 2022 and has fed around 16,000 struggling with rising food costs amid the cost of living crisis.
She sounded distraught in a viral TikTok video in which said her “hours and hours of work” had been wasted – vowing to carry on despite the act of sabotage.
Now Essex Police have opened an investigation to find those responsible and has asked anyone with information to come forward.
The force received a report on April 12 and officers carried out door-to-door inquiries. The incident is understood to have taken place between 2pm on April 7 and 9am on April 8.
Appealing for witnesses or anyone with CCTV to get in touch, Chief Inspector Paul Austin said: “Carly is naturally devastated about this mindless act, which has caused real harm to her efforts to help those most in need in Harlow.
“However, it is striking how determined she is to ensure this act does not stop her good work. The support she has received both here in the community and from across the country has been truly heart-warming.
“We take all matters of criminal damage seriously and are conducting a thorough investigation. We need anyone who may have information about this incident to come forward, your reports to us do matter and make a huge difference.”
Ms Burd, who lives with multiple sclerosis and lupus, said she started growing food after getting into a “panic” as more and more stories on the cost of living hit the headlines.
She decided to start sharing her potatoes, carrots, turnips, swede and leeks with the people in the community who are struggling with inflation.