by Michael dEstries
Categories: Eats, Home
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Almost five years ago, just before this site published its first post, one of the largest urban farms in the United States met its fate at the hands of bulldozers.

The 14-acre spread, also known as the South Central Community Garden, was smack-dab in the middle of an industrial area in downtown Los Angeles and a source of food and joy for over 350 people –  who, among some other 150 identified species, grew corn, bananas, guava, cactus, mulberries, avocado and sugar cane.

The 2006 destruction stemmed from a 2003 purchase of the property by Ralph Horowitz – who reclaimed the lot after the city of Los Angeles failed to do anything with it under eminent domain rules. Many fundraisers and other efforts were made to avoid obliterating more than 12 years of urban farming – but the $16.3M (as well as a circle-jerk of other complications) was to hard to overcome.

So the bulldozers came, various people were arrested in protest (including Daryl Hannah, who brought attention to the cause by staying 23 days in a tree on the lot), and the battle over the lot ended with Horowitz moving ahead on a proposed warehouse and distribution center.

Or not.

Fast-forward five years later and all that was once a flourishing and producing piece of green space (the only in the area) is covered in weeds and garbage. Horowitz never built up the lot and, according to NBC Los Angeles, is currently in escrow with a new owner.

Naturally, supporters of the farm are furious and feel that city officials have dropped the ball on a piece of urban green that could be much more beneficial to the population than some warehouses. On June 11th, a Save the Farm! event will be held marking the five year anniversary of the destruction and to “celebrate the years of community building and resistance with a day of art, food, indigenous ceremony and a vigil.” You can participate by heading down to 41st/Alameda in South Central from 11am-8pm.

Check out some recent coverage by NBC Los Angeles of the vacant lot below:

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About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Remy Chevalier

    This is the kind of stuff that makes me sick. How does “fail to do anything” mean a beautiful community garden? We need an ecologically fashionable benevolent dictatorship, or there’s not going to be anything left of Mother Earth.

  • Julie Dole

    You know, the farmers completely overlooked the fact that they don’t need a centralized farm to produce crops. They’re wasting time and energy on this futile fight. Just google “keyhole garden” (Africa’s gift to us, by the way!) and you’ll see an easy, cheap, almost free way to grow significant crops in a decentralized way, while recycling paper & waste food. Youtube has plenty of how-to videos on it. Stop waiting for permission from the Man & decentralize your options!