Before Leaving Los Angeles, we stopped at “The Garage” – the infamous home of Sukh from Be The Cause. We all spent a little time making Love Butterflies for Iris, a co-worker of Loveleen’s who has just been diagnosed with cancer. Iris, we wish you well!

We then went out to lunch at a mostly vegan Vietnamese restaurant called Au Lac. The food was very good and they were super nice. Though we were running a little low on time, everyone agreed to stop at South Central Farm.

southcentralfarmbeforeI’ve been following the story of South Central Farm since I got back and it meant a lot to go there in person.

As we drove up and saw the signs, the utter wreckage of this land immediately left us all broken-hearted.

South Central Farm was given to the community following the ’92 LA riots and since then it has become a vibrant spot, beaming with life. The South Central Farm is the largest urban farm in America – all organic – and has been a source of food for 350 families. Within this plot of land grew fruit trees and all kinds of plants and veggies, including many rare, heirloom varieties. It has been an oasis – a space where children could play freely, safely watched by a whole community, all gardening together.

What’s particularly extraordinary about this space is that it is located in the industrialized area of South Central Los Angeles. The vibrancy and wholesomeness of this spot of Earth comes into clear focus next to the vast, deadened, concrete world surrounding it.

This is yet another story of how oftentimes something so clearly right in the world does not always come out the winner. Last week, South Central Farm was mostly bulldozed to the ground despite the heroic efforts of many to stop it.

southcentralfarmafterWe slipped through the fence and spotted many plants and trees and fruits and vegetables that had survived the brutal assault. We sat down for a moment of silence after being told by a security guard to leave.

The emotional crush that we all felt in being here was intense but can’t possibly compare to the crush that everyone who has put so much love and care and energy into this spot must be feeling right now. The poetry of this space is powerful – the beautiful potential of Earth, so evident here – of all places – yet so violated and tenuous.  I really think this is an important one to win for the planet.

Despite the devastation, this story is not over. Most all the money – 15 million dollars – has astonishingly been raised to buy it back, but due to a misunderstanding, the owner now refuses to sell it. There are court battles going on and hope is still very much alive. I encourage everyone to check out the South Central Farmers’ website and sign up for the e-newsletter to stay up to date on its progress.

photos courtesy of circleoflife.org

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