Sunflower fields experiencing vandalism, trespassing around Minnesota

For the last six summers, Johnny Fish of Fish Sunflowers has been opening sunflower fields all over Minnesota.

"I love the field, it’s beautiful out here," said Tiffany Wahl of Ramsey, visiting the Big Lake field on Thursday.

KSTP caught up with Fish last month at the Buffalo field planted right next to Allina Clinic, in honor of the victims of the deadly shooting there in February.

"This is my way to share appreciation and love. I’m trying to do better, and I think we all can give it a good effort to do better in our lives, you know," Fish shared.

He says preparing, planting and keeping the fields beautiful is a very labor-intensive job, but one he does for others.

"I believe in it, and I love it, I really do," he said.

However, this week he made an abrupt announcement on social media about not opening the remaining fields this summer due to the vandalism of props, trespassing after fields have closed and downright disrespect of property.

"I noticed there’s a truck gone today, so I’m wondering if that’s the one that got vandalized, it’s really sad. I mean it’s his own props that he is using, his own trucks that he is using and had painted," Wahl said.

Everyone 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS talked with at the Big Lake sunflower field was aware of the announcement.

"We came to take pictures because we heard that the field is going to be closing," said Michelle Hybben, of Otsego. And all were disheartened to hear it.

"It makes me really sad. All of his hard work and everything he’s done has been so disrespected," added Mary Osborn, of Otsego.

Osborn adds, coming to the fields has been a family favorite.

"We did it last year, and it was one of the kids’ favorite memories. They were talking about let’s go back to the sunflower fields mom, when can we go back," she shared.

Five more fields were slated to open this summer with eager Minnesotans ready to take in the colors along with the joy, hope and healing they bring. The Big Lake field will close at sundown on Sunday.

Fish said he is taking a step back to reflect, and says if the remaining fields open, there will not be any props in them.