The first public food forest garden in Northeast Florida is a living memorial to 7-year-old Somer Thompson who was abducted, assaulted and murdered on Oct. 19, 2009, by Jarred Harrell, who had lured her inside the home that once stood at the site. Harrell, now 30, is serving life in prison.
Somer's mother, Diena Thompson, obtained the foreclosed home at 1152 Gano Ave. and arranged to have it burned down as a training exercise for firefighters. But she also wanted to honor her daughter's memory. Thompson partnered with nonprofit Bringing Food Forests to Northeast Florida to transform the site into a self-sustaining community garden of organic vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers.