In 2009, we screened The Garden, by Scott Kennedy. Nominated for an Academy Award, The Garden exposed the confusion and corruption that jeopardized South Central Farm, which broke ground in Los Angeles after the 1992 riots and became a working farm of 14 acres, tilled by 350 low-income families in the middle of a predominantly Hispanic immigrant neighborhood.
Now South Central Farm is back in the news, as the Los Angeles Times editorial board has announced its support to restore it. But South Central Farm needs extended support. From Scott Kennedy:
What the Times isn't saying here is that the land that was the Farm is in escrow according to reports received by the Farmers, with only four months left to find a way to return the Farm to the community before the land is sold. The Farmers are again relying on Angelinos to come to the aid of the legendary urban farm.
The South Central Farm is one of those rare causes that, in 2006, united Los Angeles across racial and generational divides. Thousands of people, some who had never been to South Central and others who lived there, stood in line side by side to hear Zack de La Rocha and Son De Madera do a benefit concert for the Farm. Tens of thousands contributed time and money to save the agriculture paradise they had "discovered" wedged between the train tracks and the trucking corridor. Word spread around the world and found support from farmers from South Africa to Oaxaca. Day after day, the ordinary and the famous, from Willie Nelson to Ralph Nader to Joan Baez to Danny Glover, made the pilgrimage to the Farm and tasted air that was palpably fresher, cleaner inside the chain link fence. Environmentalists Daryl Hannah, John Quigley, and Julia Butterfly Hill climbed trees and took turns in perches until the sheriffs drove two hook-and-ladder trucks across the crops to pull the tree sitters down. Hundreds who had camped on the land for weeks after the eviction notice were run off, and over forty-four protestors were arrested.
The Farmers' mission was and remains to provide fresh food to the food desert that is South Central Los Angeles. Today, they truck in food grown on their farm in Bakersfield, but they hold fast to the promise they made to the South Central community and all of Los Angeles back in 2006: Aqui estamos, y no nos vamos. We are here, and we're not leaving. The Farmers stand ready to restore the Farm.
What can you do to help restore it?
- Join the Farmers' mailing list.
- Write to the Los Angeles City Council and our local politicians to ask them to Stand Up and support the restoration of the South Central Farm.