Wednesday, June 21, 2006
LA Community Garden Story
Armed police stormed a community garden in South Central Los Angeles this week, arresting 25 people including actress Daryl Hannah. The 14 acre plot of land, tended by over 350 neighborhood fruit and vegetable farmers for a decade, is the largest urban community garden in the country, and a symbol of hope for the embattled South Central neighborhood. Although the highly successful garden provides affordable, mostly organic food for low-income residents in this economically depressed area, a ten-year ownership dispute over the land has led to a dramatic standoff between neighborhood residents and the powerful real estate lobby of Los Angeles. Despite massive public opposition, multi-millionaire real estate developer Ralph Horowitz obtained a court order to pave over the community garden and replace it with an industrial warehouse. After back-tracking on a proposal to sell the 14 acre plot to neighborhood residents for $16 million, Horowitz called in the police and bulldozers to clear the property of inhabitants. Neighborhood farmers and residents, along with the L.A. organic community, have vowed to keep up the struggle and save the community garden.