The fourteen-acre community garden at 41st and Alameda in South
Central Los Angeles is the
largest of its kind in the United States.
Started as a form of healing after the devastating L.A. riots in 1992,
the South Central Farmers have since created a miracle in one of the
country’s most blighted neighborhoods. Growing their own food. Feeding
their families. Creating a community.
But now, bulldozers are poised to level their 14-acre oasis.
And so the drama begins! This struggle between community gardeners and the powers that be is riveting, I tell ya. It’s an epic legal battle, with the 372 farmers playing the heroes. (The 14 center-city acres of garden are sacred to them, and we can see why.) Then playing their villainous roles to the hilt are a corrupt community organizer ("a poverty pimp"), an equally corrupt city councilperson, and a particularly despicable developer.
"The Garden," by documentary filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy, recently premiered to the world as an
entry in the Silver Docs film festival at the American Film Institute’s theater in Silver Spring, Maryland and walked away with the top honor
of the festival – for full feature. No surprise to the viewing public that night, who were on their feet applauding and cheering, including this intrepid blogger. And just maybe the movie’s success will help rally the media and the national consciousness to the cause of urban farming.
So, was the premiere exciting? Well, not in a red carpet way – nothing like the opening two days later in LA, with Darryl Hannah in attendance and doing interviews – but yeah, it was. The filmmaker said a quick hello before the movie started and told us he was "trying not to throw up".
So we watched, we cheered, and Kennedy got emotional, in a good way. Also accepting the kudos and answering questions were garden president and star of the movie, Rafina Juarez, and an executive producer whose name I hope someone will send me . These are not just filmmakers but clearly activists, as well, and they told us to check their website for information about petitioning our governments for land. "We need to educate our children to grow food. All most kids know is how to open the refrigerator door," said Juarez. And she sang the praises of their pro bono lawyer, an awesome guy who’s currently representing people in Kenya fighting the dastardly Chevron company.
HELP DISTRIBUTE THIS MOVIE
See it, yes, by all means. But if there’s anything more you can do – like arranging a screening – DO IT. Just contact these nice folks.