Largest Urban Farm Faces Threat Of Eviction
(Beyond Pesticides, May 25, 2006) The South Central Farm in Los Angeles, a 14-acre community garden that provides food and community to over 350 families, faces eviction. The land, located at 41st and Alameda in downtown LA, was first acquired by the city of the City of Los Angeles in the 1980’s by eminent domain. It was given to the community for use as a garden in 1992. The land is farmed by poor working class families in South Central, LA. The farm is the major form of substances for many people in the area, and is an important part of the community and culture. On the farm families have the opportunity to grow foods that are healthy and pesticide-free. Many families grow food indigenous to their countries of origin that have important cultural, nutritional, and medicinal value. The urban farm is also one of the largest areas of green space in Los Angeles.
In 1995 the city began negotiations to sell the land to Libaw-Horowitz Investment Company (LHIC), the successor companies to one of the original owners of the land. Agreements were never finalized since the City Council had the final word on the sale of the land, and they never gave consent.
In 2002 LHIC sued the city for not selling them the land. The city finally agreed to sell the land to Ralph Horowitz and his business partners for $5,050,000. The settlement was approved in August 2003. When the families were notified of the sale in September of that year, they formed the group South Central Farmers Feeding Families. The group appealed the sale of the land, however the city transferred title to the property in December 2003. South Central Farmers Feeding Families acquired legal representation and filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the sale of the property. The Los Angeles County Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order and later a preliminary injunction halting development of the property during the time of the pending lawsuit. Both the City and the Horowitz defendants appealed the Superior Court’s order granting the preliminary injunction. On June 30, 2005, the Court of Appeal reversed the injunction.
Currently, the South Central Farm has a little over a week before it is shut down. Many people have come forward in protest. Today, Joan Baez, Julia Butterfly Hill, and John Quigley will be staging a tree-sit in the garden to show solidarity with the community.
Take Action: Show your support by writing to the Mayor and various other Los Angeles officials and telling them to SAVE THE FARM! Sample letters and contact information can be found on the South Central Farmers website.