Saving the L.A. Community Garden

Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Today, The Associated Press reported that Joan Baez and Julia Hill are camping in a tree to protest the demolition of a community garden in Los Angeles. South Central Farm is said to be the largest urban community garden in the United States. More than 300 families, many of them low-income, cultivate gardens there.

Now the gardeners are being evicted because the owner of the land wants to build a warehouse. The Trust for Public Land stepped in and tried to raise enough money to buy the land and save the garden, but they fell short by $10 million. (And as a former fundraiser, I cringed when I read that they only had 45 days to raise the money. Ouch.)

So my initial thought was: Why must we take to the trees in times like these? But on second thought: If that's what it takes, I'd be right there with them.

In my opinion, we don't need one more warehouse to hold more "stuff"; we need more community gardens.
As an urban gardener myself, this is near and dear to my heart. I see so many benefits of community gardens, going way beyond fresh fruits and vegetables. They create a real sense of community. They preserve precious green space. Members get involved in local policy making.

Our community garden sits on a prime piece of land in Washington, D.C., where everyone and his brother seems to want to build condos these days. My favorite is the "high-performance" condo complex that's going up near the Tenleytown Metro station. (What's a "high-performance" condo? Can someone fill me in on that one?)

I can't imagine how it would be if developers came and wanted to build condos -- or a warehouse, or whatever -- on our community garden site. You'd better believe that I'd be at every city council meeting and on every council member's doorstep. I'd camp in my plot if I had to. They'd have to carry me away kicking and screaming and wielding my shovel. I care about it
that much. People sit on a waiting list for a year to get a piece of dirt where they can cultivate a garden here.

So I say to Joan Baez and Julia Hill: You go, girls! Whatever it takes. Community gardens are so worth fighting for. I'd be right there with you.

(Read more: "L.A. Urban Farmers Fight for Community Garden," by Jessica Hoffmann.)


Blogger David (Snappy) said...

(Find out where the developers Chief executive or managing director lives.Go to his big palatial house and plant a warehouse on his grass.Rip up his flower beds, and cut down the tree's.Bulldoze his golf course would work just as well.)
I hope they win the right to garden in the community gardens.Its so beneficial for people and communitys to do that.In the UK we have britain in bloom as a way of making communities work together with flowers and plants.Even guerilla gardening is happening here to reclaim wasteland into planting displays.Keep posting!

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because my first real garden experience began in a community garden, I have much admiration & respect for community gardens & their dedicated gardeners. I garden in my backyard these days, but am beholden to the community garden days I had long ago. We don't have enough community gardens on earth. And to think warehouses & other needless things will take away a precious community garden space is extremely disheartening. Yes, I would camp in a tree to protest and if necessary, I'd kick & scream & wield my garden shovel as well. I admire all community gardeners, you truly understand a slice of earth's precious value.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Stunned Donor said...

The sad reality of community gardens is that sooner or later the land gets too valuable and is sold for development. I hope the land the City of Los Angeles has set aside about 3 miles fromthis site will support all of the gardeners and at the very least Horowitz will let the gardeners stay long enough to harvest this season's crops. The other sad reality is that there are literally thousands and thousands of people in the Los Angeles area who spend more on their hair and teeth than most of the gardeners make in a year and it wouldn't hurt one bit to donate thousands if not millions of dollars to help buy this land.

7:38 PM  

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