Kati Lopez at the South Central Farm, 41st and Alameda, South Central, Los Angeles
Photo by: Don Normark/Black Valley Films
Iï¿½m not sure what it says about me, but I havenï¿½t seen any of the recently announced Oscar contenders for Best Picture, though I have seen two of the Documentary Feature nominees. One, The Garden, produced and directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, follows the history of the 14-acre South Central Farm, an oasis in downtown Los Angeles. Pending appeals, the land is slated for development. The Garden tracks the farmersï¿½ resistance when faced with eviction, documenting their rude political awakening to back-door dealings and other maneuvers to game the system. Suspense builds to the eviction date, March 7, 2006, when scenes of bulldozers mangling crops feel as brutal as horror film footage. You have to wonder what weï¿½ve come to when we so little value growing fresh, healthful food. Still, the farmers embrace their hard-won lessons as a gift and havenï¿½t given up hope. Tenacity is a virtue that farmers and grassroots activists share. Who knew gardening could be a political act?
DVDs are available at thegardenmovie.com.