Thursday, June 10, 2010

Environment: Revisiting Destruction of South Central Farm; BP Oil Spill; The Plastic Garbage Island in the Pacific

Every spring and summer for the past five years, I look at the flowers that my mother and father planted. l think about how we farmed and sold our vegetables for many years at the Eastern Farmers Market. I think about the backyard gardens I planted so we could have fresh food. This morning I wondered about what happened to the urban farmers from the South Los Angeles farm that was bulldozed.

A few years ago, the South Central Farm in Los Angeles, California was bulldozed after a dispute between the farmers and the landowners. The farm was the largest urban garden project in the US. Right before the farm was bulldozed, I went through a similar experience in Detroit, with the project I worked on and invested a great deal of the grant I received. With my project, instead of food, flower gardens that children planted were bulldozed.

In one of the films that I watched earlier this morning, one of the women who planted at the farm stated that the young children that planted and grew up with that farm were psychologically damaged when the authorities bulldozed it. I believe her. There is nothing like remembering all of the hot summer days that were spent planting, the care children took to select the flora they would plant and arrange in pots...and then one day find everything in one bulldozed heap of brick, crushed plants and organic soil. This is one reason why "lived experiences" are important.

Here are three videos about why the garden was started, what happened to the land, the farmers, the families, and the organizing efforts.

1. The Destruction of South Central Farmers:

2. The Garden (Movie Trailer, from YouTube)

 3. A YouTube Project Report by Tracy Chung: South Central Farm Revisited


For over a month, I have been asking my friends, "Why don't they call Jacques Cousteau's family?" "They did all those documentaries on the sea, they can get the diving equipment..." Well, I was informed last week the the grandson of Jacques Cousteau has been in the gulf. Here's a clip from May 27, 2010; ABC's Good Morning America report:

Here is a report on the giant garbage island that floats in the Pacific Ocean. It is twice the size of Texas:

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