THE GARDEN (2008)

The documentary film tells the story of the largest urban garden in the United States located in South Central LA.  Over a dozen acres of land was given to the community to grow their own food and that’s just what they did.  From 1994-2006 this parcel thrived, spreading health, joy and community bonds to everyone who encountered it.

But, a viscous land battle between the city of LA and the previous owners resulted in a back door sale of the parcel and the garden was ultimately evicted.  The film tells their story and includes the likes of Darryl Hannah, who was arrested for civil disobedience at the South Central Garden.  It was nominated for an Academy Award in 2008 as well.  The trailer, posted above, gives a great sense of the dramatic relationship between the common gardener and the heavy had of politics and corruption.

What you won’t see in the film is where things are at now.  After taking back the 14 acre community garden, the owners attempted to build a Forever 21 warehouse but failed.  The lot, currently, in 2012, sits vacant and empty.

OUR GARDEN
The  story of South Central garden is a foreboding message to all those who have community gardens in urban settings.  The competition of the money hungry developers and land owners always eventually comes into play no matter how big, how great, how vast the community’s garden may be.  As we fight to save Kezar Gardens, the plight of South Central makes it even more urgent to solidify our place here in Golden Gate Park.  While our comrades like Hayes Valley Farm and the Free Farm are located on lands always sited for development, Kezar Gardens is on land that will never face that challenge.  There will never be condos or a Whole Foods or a Forever 21 warehouse at 780 Frederick Street.  That land is zoned for public use.  And, it is the right kind of land to have an ecology center like ours because of that fact.

GARDENS FOR ALL

We cannot count on the kindness of developers to give sanctuary to our burgeoning urban ecology centers.  City parks must be the safe havens for urban gardens, the protectors of ecology programs and the champions for people who take charge of their health and well being by participating in the environmental movement.   Through gardening, habitat restoration, recycling, composting and engaging one another in free and public spaces that reflect unity rather than segregation and disparity, we can create a small utopia in Golden Gate Park together.  Save Kezar Gardens-don’t let our future be an expensive empty lot they say they are going to do something with.  Don’t let them bulldoze this garden to erect another one more expensive and not yet paid for.  There is plenty of land in Golden Gate Park to house a dozen community gardens.  Demand that urban ecology centers be written in to the Golden Gate Park Master Plan and demand that more community gardens, not less, be open and available in Golden Gate Park and other city parks in San Francisco.

Take Action!

How can you help save Kezar Gardens, let me count the ways…

1.  Vote for our site on www.improveSF.com under the challenge “What is your favorite thing in your neighborhood?”

2.  Print out a postcard off our SAVE KEZAR GARDENS page and send it to Mayor Edwin Lee.

3.  Stop by and say hi, share your story with us, enjoy the gorgeous gardens in bloom.

4.  Tell people you know about this problem-express your concerns-spread the word

5.  Ask reporters, TV stations and other media outlets to cover this story and get the important facts out there.