Urban farm in LA gets eviction notice, Wal-Mart imminent

Dean says,

For thirteen years, in the depressed inner city of south central LA, 250 families have been feeding themselves on with organic fruits and vegetables grown on a farm that was once completely paved and considered completely useless for growing anything on.

The farm has almost zero fossil fuel imput and zero transport cost. It's a model the whole world should be copying, but instead the city has decided to give them an eviction notice. The sheriff's office delivered the notice on March 1st. This farm does great things, and its in everybody's best interest that it survive.

The city wants to replace it with a Wal-Mart.

Links to the farm's website, the eviction notice, and the mayor's email address are all included here.

Reader comment: Glenn Fleishman says,

NPR did a balanced story about this a few weeks ago — Link.

It's more nuanced than what's being cited here. The farm is on private property.
The owner is not being compensated. If you buy into a world view that property is theft, then the victims are the farm owners. If you're interacting in our capitalist society, then both parties are victims and losers in this situation.

Reader comment: eric richardson

I'm glad to see boing boing giving visibility to the South Central community farm story.

It's a good bit off the truth to say that the City wants to replace the farm with a Walmart, though. The City got the site originally via eminent domain, intending to use it for a waste-to-energy plant. When that project didn't go forward they made a deal with the Food Bank to let the land be turned into farm plots.

In the process they got into a sticky situation with the original owner who still had some refusal rights on the land. Lawsuits and negotiations went on for almost ten years, and the City finally sold the land back to the original owner to clear out of a legal mess. Whether they should have done so or continued to fight is a very valid question, but clearly the City would have preferred not to give the land back.

Reader comment: Eric Francoeur writes,

I was really touched by the story about South Central Farm. As a non US citizen/resident, I felt compelled to express my concerns to Mayor Villarraigosa in a way that would show that the fate of the farm is an issue that attracts attention far beyond the boundaries of L.A. The text is below, if you think it is worth sharing it with others in my position, as a template.
I pieced it together hastily, but I think it gets the point across. Best, Eric

Dear Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa:

An eviction notice was posted on the west gate of the South Central Farm by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department at 2:00pm, March 1, 2006. According to the notice the 14-acre farm (the largest urban farm in the
U.S.) needs to be vacated by Monday March 6, 2006.
Until the end of that day, it will still be legal for the farmers to remain on the land. They have been left at the mercy of a real estate developer who has demonstrated an intense desire to destroy 13 years worth of a successful community farm.

On this issue, I totally concur with Professor Irazábal's argument:

"[T] he relevant question is not whether this urban farm should be preserved. This is the wrong question and one that diminishes the stature of your office and the trust we have invested in you. The question is, rather, how can we best help multiply urban farms like this one throughout Los Angeles and cities of the Americas and the world. As the era of oil inescapably comes to an end, we are going to be faced with the need, whether we like it or not, to live more compactly, thrifty, cooperatively, and in more direct connection with, and responsible for, the production of our own food. In this context, not only does the South Central Farm not constitute a backward use of land in one of the largest and more prominent and modern cities of the world. Instead, it is a model for the future (and the future is now), one that can support the survival of our growing urban civilization. Maintaining the South Central Farm, Los Angeles and you as its mayor have the unique opportunity to become world visionaries and trail breakers."

I am not one of your constituents, not even a citizen or resident or citizen of the United States, just a concerned inhabitant of this planet. The eyes of the world are on you. Please save South Central Farm.


Eric Francoeur

Reader comment: Jon Karl says,

Wal-Mart has an active greenwashing campaign through their "Acres for America Program" where they give grants to protect open space to replace the footprint of all Wal-Mart stores. Note that this money goes to protect "wildlife habitat" and that none of the projects they have funded so far are in urban areas. So at the same time they are complicit in destroying urban farms they are helping purchase "wildlife habitat" in rural areas. From the website: "Acres for America will permanently conserve at least one acre of priority wildlife habitat for every acre of Wal-Mart's current footprint, estimated at 88,000 acres, as well as the company's future development over the next 10 years, estimated at 5,000 acres per year, putting the minimum total acres to be protected at 138,000."