Saturday, March 04, 2006

Los Angeles Urban Farm Receive 3-Day Eviction Notice

Just found this on CityHippy (he found it at Boing Boing), and am really wishing it was Wednesday instead of Saturday (as the traffic's higher): the city of Los Angeles has served the South Central Farm, a model in urban sustainable agriculture, with a 3-day (yes, a whole 3 days) eviction notice. Who wants the fourteen acres that's served as a community farm since 1992? Why, Wal-Mart, of course. From From the Wilderness:
In L.A.’s Havana Experiment FTW told you the dramatic and compelling story of what 350 families have done over a 13-year period with a 14 acre plot of land in a depressed inner city. They are feeding themselves with organically grown and healthy produce that requires zero fossil-fuel inputs and requires virtually no transportation expense. This is being done on soil that was once paved, covered, depleted and ignored. More than anything else, this is the one area of effort most essential for America’s (and the world’s) major cities to pursue as Peak Oil takes its first deadly bites.

Two days ago the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department unceremoniously posted an eviction notice on the farm’s gate calling for the farm to be vacated by March 6th (next Monday). That would leave current crops in the ground to be plowed under by a developer’s bulldozers. The intended replacement for the farm is a warehouse intended to serve (primarily) Wal-Mart.

Talk about a fitting metaphor for suburban sprawl! Obviously, time is short on this one, but the South Central Farm website has posted a sample letter you can send to LA Mayor Antonio Villarraigosa and linked to his email address. Do it! Bloggers, spread the word -- let's show the world that the right-wing bloggers aren't the only ones that can make a quick impact!

UPDATE: A couple of reader comments at Boing Boing clarify the situation... Apparently, this is not just a simple care of the city using eminent domain on behalf of Wal-Mart:

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 says,

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.

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