Update on the L.A. Community Garden
Grist Magazine reported today that the Trust for Public Land, with help from The Annenberg Foundation, is making an offer to buy -- and save -- the 14-acre L.A. community garden. I hope this works. Last month, I was lamenting the news that the garden might be bulldozed to build a warehouse.
So why does this matter to me? My own community garden plot is primarily for hobby gardening. If I experience "crop failure," I can just walk a few blocks and pick up virtually any fresh vegetable or fruit my heart desires. It's different in South Los Angeles, where, as I understand it, some 350 low-income families use South Central Farm as their primary source for fresh food (and fresh air).
But the real reason this matters to me is because it symbolizes how much -- or how little -- our society values green space, especially in urban environments. The article sums this up well:"The gardeners and the activists supporting them say that preserving the farm is essential -- not only for the health of L.A.'s most neglected communities, but also to set a precedent for other cities. If the country's second-largest city permits the scrapping of the country's biggest urban garden, they say, it will derail the efforts of activists working for green space elsewhere. The fate of the South Central Farm, its protectors say, is an important test of whether the country is committed to fostering more sustainable and self-sufficient cities."
"The South Central saga can be read as a parable of how society habitually places the interests of private property owners above the needs of impoverished communities. But to observers both near and far, South Central Farm is a living model of something more positive: how to cultivate community from the grassroots. It's proof of how city dwellers, working together, can build a more sustainable world, starting with something as seemingly simple as the food they eat."
Read the full article: The Central Question, by Jason Mark.