Saturday, June 10, 2006

South Central Farm

Last night, I rode my janky bike with the Midnight Ridazz again. Lady Pun and WhyJaneInsane joined us. As virgin riders, their cherries were popped with much excitement and joy. I'm so glad.

Our route yesterday included a stop at the South Central Farm at 41st and Alameda. Although I heard news here and there about the Farm, I have never seen it up close and can I tell you... it's amazing.


Here's the skinny:

Since 1992, the 14 acres of property located at 41st and Alameda Streets in Los Angeles have been used as a community garden or farm. The land has been divided into 360 plots and is believed to be one of the largest urban gardens in the country.

The City of Los Angeles acquired the property by eminent domain in the late 1980s, taking it from nine private landowners who were letting the land waste away. The largest of these owners, Alameda-Barbara Investment Company, owned approximately 80 percent of the site had been compensated $4.7 million dollars. The City originally intended to use the property for a trash incinerator, but abandoned that plan in the face of public protest organized by the late Juanita Tate and the Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles.

As part of the eminent domain proceedings, the City granted Alameda- Barbara Investment Company a right of first refusal if, within 10 years, the City determined that the parcel formerly owned by Alameda was no longer required for public use.

Following the uprising in 1992, the City transferred title to the property by ordinance to its Harbor Department for $13 million. When it received title to the property, the Harbor Department contracted with the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank to operate the property as a community garden.

Approximately 350 families use plots at the garden to grow their own food. The families using the plots are low income and depend heavily upon the food they grow to feed themselves. In addition to growing food for themselves, the people involved with the community garden hold Farmers' Markets, festivals and other cultural events for the public at large.

After receiving the notice from the City informing them that the garden property was being sold to a private developer (to the original owners through right of first refusal, even though the property is being used by the public), the farmers formed an organization-South Central Farmers Feeding Families- and began organizing to retain their right to use the property. South Central Farmers Feeding Families appealed to the City Council to prevent the sale from going through.

The South Central Farmers were served with an eviction notice on March 1, 2006. The notice gave the farmers 5 days to vacate the premises. Within those five days, the farmers used their legal right to appeal the eviction notice by asking to have a hearing in front of a judge. Since March 7, 2006, the farmers have been in a daily state of peril anxiously waiting to see if they’ll meet their terminal fate with the South Central Farm.


Finally, a successful, self-sustainable community project that feeds the body and souls of so many poor people. Now it's all going down for private corporate interests. FUCK.

Please visit the website. Provide a donation, join the listserve and/or write to politicians to help save the farm.

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