Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Garden

Tonight at Portland's SPACE Gallery they'll be screening "The Garden," a documentary about Los Angeles's South Central Farm.

The Farm enjoyed a vibrant 12-year history as a diverse ecosystem of central American crop plants raised on small plots by about 350 local families. It also served, temporarily, as one of the largest green spaces for South Central Los Angeles, an area with a high proportion of minorities and elevated levels of air pollution (in the 1980s, the City of Los Angeles temporarily owned the site with the intention to build a new garbage incinerator, but environmental justice protests sank the proposal).

Ultimately, though, southern California's red-hot real estate market scorched the farm. Bulldozers ripped through the site in 2006, but not before some high-profile protest songs by Joan Baez, and a two-week tree sit by a group that included Daryl Hannah (yeah, that Daryl Hannah: tabloid story here, Daryl's first-person account here).

The forty-acre farm site is now a barren, empty lot, surrounded by razor wire. Just as soon as the real estate lawyers beat the farmers' pro bono legal team into submission, the site will sprout a new Forever 21 distribution center and warehouse.

For more info:
The Garden movie website
South Central Farmers: official web site

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