Gutted South Central Farm Remains Vacant

By Mary Harris
|  Saturday, Jun 4, 2011  |  Updated 10:57 AM PDT
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South LA Urban Garden Lot: Five Years Later

AP

File Photo (July 5, 2006): A protester attempts to place a flag in the exhaust of a bulldozer at the South Central Farm in Los Angeles. Workers began bulldozing a 14-acre urban garden, and 10 protesters were arrested as they tried to stop the demolition.

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South LA Urban Garden Lot: Five Years Later

Five years after a high-profile eviction of squatting urban farmers, the space that was once a thriving garden remains an undeveloped lot.
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It's been almost five years since a popular south Los Angeles urban farm was shut down.

The eviction of local farmers from land owned by Ralph Horowitz was a high-profile and almost surreal event. Deputies forcibly removed farmers and protestors from the land. They pulled people -- including actress Daryl Hannah -- from a walnut tree. Officials bulldozed the gardens.

The farm was featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary "The Garden."

At the time, Horowitz had just bought back his property from the city after it had purchased the land through eminent domain laws. When the city did not build on the land as it was required to do through the eminent domain rules, Horowitz was allowed to take it back. He said he had plans to build on the property, so he started shutting down the farms and scraping the land down to the dirt.

Now five years later, the empty lot remains an empty lot.

Nothing has been built or developed there and the one-time farmers remain angry that the city has not done more on their behalf.

Urban farmer organizer Tezozomoc says it has been "devastating" to see a space that was once a thriving garden be nothing more than a space for weeds and trash.

Tezozomoc blames the city council, and in particular, Councilwoman Jan Perry for not lending the support he says the farmers need to solicit foundations for money.
Perry, who represents the neighborhood, says that there is nothing she can do because the property is privately owned.

At this point, Horowitz is in escrow with a new owner and the fate of the acreage remains unknown.

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