Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Garden

The Garden BEFORE

Imagine a community farm growing all manner of tropical fruits, greens, heritage corn varieties, even cacti. In a climate like Los Angeles' it's completely feasible. In fact, it existed. At East 41st Street and South Almeda Street, a 14 acre community-run farm grew just such edible treasures. The Academy Award Nominated documentary The Garden reveals this lush and productive landscape to be essential to community building and local food security. There's just one problem, and as you can likely guess, it comes down to money. Land is worth money, development makes money, whereas gardens are perceived as worthless, as are the social benefits enjoyed by a community endowed with meaningful, communal public space.

The Garden NOW

The man who claims ownership over the 14 acres cultivated by the South Central Farmers has other plans for the land. Namely, a warehouse for purveyors of cheap clothing: Forever 21. Google Earth enables us to visit the site, no longer an oasis in a parched and shelterless residential neighbourhood that verges on a warehouse district, but rather just a scrubby dirt lot. Regardless of the damage that's already been done, the resilient South Central Farmers continue to fight for their right to grow food in their own neighbourhood.

If you have a chance to attend a screening of The Garden you must go. If you don't, order a DVD and organize a screening of your own.

No comments:

Post a Comment