Last night I watched a moving, motivating and inspiring documentary, called The Garden, about the 14 acre South Central Farm that was set up in the middle of South Central Los Angeles. The film which I highly recommend follows a battle over the land that is full of individual and governmental disfunction and ultimately results in the loosing of the farm. Although this element of the story is gripping and emotional I was struck by the success of the project while it was functioning. It makes so much sense to use abandoned urban property for farming. Why not set up community gardens in urban areas where individuals do not have land but many are connected to farming practices from growing up in rural environments? The empowerment provided by growing even a little bit of your own food no matter who you are cannot be quantified. The health and environmental benefits of eating food you grow from close to home are vast.
This story left me with a renewed commitment to the various garden projects that I am working on throughout the city and an openness to additional projects. Our pumpkin plants at Scott Montgomery Elementary School are growing and getting more and more flowers daily. We continue to weed, water and feed while we anxiously await our first pumpkin. The front yard of the abandoned house next door to us is planted with cabbage, spinach, beets, kale and lettuces all of which are still small but quite healthy. I am enjoying watching them grow and look forward to starting to eat the greens in the next couple of weeks. The front yard of the apartment building a couple of houses down also has a couple of pumpkin plants and a large just sprouting bed of arugula. Other gardens that I planted in the area including our home are transitioning from summer to fall but will continue to produce up to the first frost.
Hopefully by witnessing the success to the South Central Farm (by watching The Garden) it can become a model for launching similar projects throughout the country.