Thursday, July 15, 2010


The Garden (2008) - Kennedy
It's South Central, LA. Shortly after the LA Rodney King riot, about 350 mostly hispanic families took 16 acres of garbage heaped land and started cultivating vegetables for their own consumption. For the next 12 years or so, South Central Farm had been oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle. documentarian Scott Hamilton Kennedy chronicles their struggles to keep the farm from getting bulldozed over. The Garden has plenty of drama- community organizations bickering with each other, corrupt politicians, pc celebrities (then prez hopeful Dennis Kucinich, Daryl Hannah, Willie Nelson, Ed Bagley Jr, Zach de la Locha, Danny Glover, Joan Baez and many others), Kunstler style civil rights lawyers, machetes and other farm equipment, injunctions and several reversals of fortune,etc, etc.

In the end, it's a heartbreaker. They lose the farm to a stereotypical villain- Jewish developer who bought back the land for 5 million from the city in some shady backroom deal and two years later, tries to sell it for 16.5 million. When the farmers raise the money, he refuses to sell it to them because he doesn't like their conduct,sees them as anti-semites and as ungrateful immigrants with entitlement mentality.

I remember this being nominated for the best doc along with the Betrayal, Encounters at the End of the World, Man on Wire and Trouble the Water in 2009. It was a good year for docs for sure. Finally saw it and gotta say this is a doc that is up there with Harlan County USA as one doc that packs the strongest punches for me. See this.

Visit South Central Farmers Website