Photos: Remembering the fight of the South Central Farmers
Remember in 2006 when Daryl Hannah climbed into a tree in a noble but ultimately failed attempt to help save land cultivated by the South Central Farmers? The space is once again available for sale, and the farmers would love to purchase the land, even though it's no longer a lush and green space. In Thursday's pages, the editorial board weighs in on the matter -- Should the city help them buy the land? What's the best use for the urban parcel?-- but first they catch us up on the backstory:
The 2 1/2-year battle that erupted in 2006 played out like an opera. The South Central Farmers, as the gardeners named themselves, felt betrayed by city politicians. The property owner, Ralph Horowitz, believed -- rightly -- that he was being unfairly vilified for simply trying to protect his investment. Despite a promise of millions from the Annenberg Foundation, a deal to buy the property and keep the farm going fell through, giving way to the ugly sight of bulldozers plowing crops under. But life went on. Some farmers moved farther south to land that L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry helped them find. Others -- who kept the South Central Farmers name -- moved to land near Bakersfield, where they continue to grow produce that they sell at farmers' markets and in several Whole Foods stores. And some quit farming altogether.
Now, nearly five years later, the property that ignited so much drama sits vacant, awash in wild grasses. But it is for sale, and the South Central Farmers want it back.
On the occasion of this renewed dispute, we thought to dig up our old photos.
Actress Daryl Hannah stakes out a tree before officials removed her at a South L.A. urban farm that activists have been trying to save. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times
LAPD officers arrest protesters. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times
Odalys Clemente, then 8, waters her parents' plot. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
Elizabeth Vaquero and brother Jose, then 14 and 16 respectively, camp out in a tent near the land their family has farmed. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
A man weeps as bulldozing begins. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
Supporters rush after a bulldozer trying to stop it. Credit: Ric Francis / Associated Press
College Unbound student Gerard Tetreault, of Providence, R.H., shoots video during a tour of the former South Central Farmers cooperative farm in 2009. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
--Alexandra Le Tellier