The Garden, a Film on the South Central Farmers Nominated for an Academy Award


Kenneth Turan, Times Movie Critic says in his review (August 28, 2008) “‘The Garden’ is a case study in how hardball politics is played and why it is so difficult to take on the system. Not that anyone has given up the fight. As a story in the L.A. Times this week pointed out, the battle over this piece of land is far from over. What ‘The Garden’ does is demonstrate what it’s all about and why it’s important.” Turan’s title of this piece on The Garden, a 2008 academy award nominated documentary on the 6-year struggle of the South Central Farmers is “The Garden, Turf wars flourish in South-Central L.A.” Ouch! Here we go again—diminished from urban ecological pioneers and community healers to gang banging discontents. (sigh)

I haven’t seen The Garden yet, but have heard many good things about it and the director, Scott Hamilton Kennedy, especially from friends involved in the film, Gabriel Tenorio and Domingo 7 of East LA who co-wrote the musical score with seasoned soundtrack composer Doug DeAngelis. One of the reasons the film has been difficult to catch up with for me is that it seems to be on tour, rather than part of the usual distribution schedules in local movie houses. Daryl Hannah even hosted a screening of The Garden as part of the National Democratic Convention programming. Continue reading

This Is Wacked—Take the Farm Back! South Central Farmers Continue to Dream in Green

This morning the South Central Farmers held a press conference and informational picket downtown at Los Angeles City Hall to object to the building of an industrial warehouse.  Most disturbing is that the City Planning Department has announced plans to allow this warehouse to be built where the South Central Farm once flourished.   Even more worrisome is that a required standard guideline for an Environmental Impact Report has not even been made for this warehouse project.  Farm representatives and area residents believe that a warehouse of this nature will create more pollution in the area, watershed damage, traffic congestion, poor air quality, increase health hazards, and contribute further to greenhouse emissions.

I was born and grew up in San Diego, then moved to Los Angeles in my early 20’s.   It was quite a shock visiting a friend in Maywood one night and witnessing the factory lights illuminating the skies as if it were daytime!   Later, I found out that there is never darkness in Maywood and that the immigrant families that comprise the majority of residents there live with it.   Isn’t darkness deprivation some sort of heinous torture tactic?

About two years ago I bought a home in Boyle Heights.  The first time I smelled the pollution emitted from the slaughter houses in Vernon, I thought something had died and was decaying in my yard.  I looked everywhere, even under the house for the cause of that odor.  It took me two months to figure out what that repugnant permeating smell was.

Maywood and Vernon are blocks from where the South Central Farm once stood.  Isn’t there enough pollution and stagnant space there already?  We don’t have to accept the special interest groups and their politicians dumping on our neighborhoods while they boost their personal careers and fill their pockets.  Such city planning would not be acceptable in Malibu or Beverly Hills—we don’t have to accept it either.

Please check in on the South Central Farmers’ website for up coming actions on working together to restore our communities into healthier environments.