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South LA Community Farm Celebrates First Year

Food Growers Network takes on health and economic inequalities

Photo: Crystal Gonzalez / AFSC

LOS ANGELES (May 14, 2019) On Saturday May 18, Los Angeles residents will gather at the South LA Community Farm for a ribbon cutting celebration of the farm’s first year. The farm is a collaboration between All Peoples Community Center and the American Friends Service Committee’s Roots for Peace Program. The event takes place at the farm on Saturday May 18 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at 847 E. 20th Street in South Los Angeles.

AFSC’s Roots for Peace program works with youth, adults, and partnering organizations to increase food security, build local food systems, and increase community health in Los Angeles neighborhoods. 

Roots for Peace is part of AFSC’s “Farming for Social Change” collaborative, which believes in the need to farm with and for communities most impacted by historical injustice in order to increase health, self determination, environmental justice, and economic justice. This collaboration in Baltimore, New Orleans, New Mexico, and Los Angeles envisions a world that values and centers the leadership of those most impacted by historical and state violence to create real systemic change.

South Los Angeles once had one of the largest urban farms in the United States, which was demolished in 2006. This is one of a handful of urban farms that have risen in South Los Angeles since that time. “Migrant communities and people of color have a long history of connecting to the earth for food, medicine, and culture,” said Roots for Peace program director Crystal Gonzalez. “It’s essential that folks have equitable access to land to reconnect to these traditions, especially in urban environments.”

The program on May 18th will feature speakers, including Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, an open house, youth poetry, and the Le Ballet Dembaya African Drum & Dance Ensemble. The day will also showcase Roots for Peace Programming, including Youth Artivism, Regenerative Urban Agriculture, and the Food Growers Network. 

The farm sits on a 6,400-square foot lot which for the last 30 years had either been vacant or used for parking. It is now a community farm that increase access to food, equips neighborhood residents with skills, centralizes emergency preparedness, and increases community cohesion.

“This farm is an important neighborhood asset and part of larger efforts to address climate change and build just food systems with the leadership of community most impacted by food apartheid in LA,” said Eli Tizcareño, program coordinator for AFSC. “This celebration is a celebration not just of the farm, but of the strength and resilience of this community.”   

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.