The Garden, a documentary film on the South Central Farm, relates similar struggles for farm land in the city.
By: Luz Ticas
Undergraduate Research Assistant
The fight for a green space where people of color can enjoy and produce healthy, fresh and organic food like in their countries of origin has happened not only in Santa Cruz but also down the coast in Los Angeles, California. A 14 acre piece of property that was owned by the City of Los Angeles consisted of the largest community Garden at the time – The South Central Farm. This urban farm emerged in South Central LA after the 1992 Rodney King riots in the city. The community farm grew to serve 347 underrepresented families with organic, fresh, and free produce. Many of its participants lived in neighborhoods that are considered food deserts, making the Farm a valuable place to cultivate. To much community upheaval, after 11 years of community prosperity, the farmers were evicted and the farm was destroyed in July, 2006 and slotted for development. Prior to its destruction, a struggle emerged to save the Farm in 2003. The struggle captivated the lens of documentary film producer, Scott Hamilton Kennedy, who made the story famous across the country.
We wanted to highlight the struggle for the South Central Farm, because it is similar to the struggle faced by the Beach Flats Community Garden this past year. The story of the South Central Farm is not talked about often, but it is a story that is worth learning about and drawing a comparison. Social movements that arise to preserve neighborhood spaces such as urban farms and gardens can learn from past experiences faced by groups with similar objectives and motivations.
To learn more about the fight for the South Central Farm in Los Angeles look for the documentary The Garden by Scott Hamilton Kennedy in your local library.
Watch the trailer.