THE BLOG
06/11/2013 03:02 pm ET Updated Aug 11, 2013

Join South Central Farmers in Remembering the Violent Eviction of June 13, 2006

Time: Thursday, June 13. Meet at 7:00 pm for remembrance and vigil.
Location: Martin Luther King Blvd. and Long Beach Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90058

Save the Farm! The South Central Farmers call on all Farm supporters, new and old, to stop the industrialization of the South Central Farm.

Join the legendary South Central Farmers on Thursday, June 13, at 7:00 pm on Martin Luther King Blvd. and Long Beach Ave.

Join the SCF supporters and Kalpulli Danza Mitotiliztli in a ceremony and vigil as we pay tribute to our Mother Earth Tonantzin and our continued battle for our sacred space. The 7th anniversary since the violent eviction of the South Central Farmers remains an icon to all who fought for environmental justice and indigenous resistance. We invite old and new friends to share your words during the vigil. We will also update people on the plans against the industrialization of the SCF Farm site at 41st and Alameda. They will cover their two main actions; submitting comments opposing the warehouse till June 26, 2013, and Kicking off their "BOYCOTT Miss Me" one of the apparel companies planning to develop the warehouses.

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The farmers are organizing to stop the plans to cover the empty lots that buttress the low-income Central Alameda neighborhood from the Alameda Corridor industrial and transportation zone with four massive industrial buildings. With their call to Save the Farm, the farmers and their supporters will demand environmental justice for area residents, who have fought off everything from putting an incinerator to a sweatshop on the site over two decades. An industrial manufacturing site on the land threatens the working-class neighborhood with hundreds of truck trips and commuters daily. Most of the jobs will be transferred from existing manufacturing facilities, and will be low-skilled and low-wage.

The story of the South Central Farm has entered the annals of Angelenos' battle for green space, alongside the Cornfields, Chavez Ravine, Taylor Yard, and the Ballona Wetlands, except that the farmers have halted development on the land for seven years. Mayor Tom Bradley gave the land to the community in 1993, in the wake of the Los Angeles Uprising. But five years later, the Ccty was in negotiations with developer Ralph Horowitz to industrialize this largest parcel of undeveloped land in Los Angeles.

In 2006, the 350 families who comprised the South Central Farmers became an international symbol of the struggle between the people's right to raise and distribute healthy food for their families and neighbors, and the profits of developers in the over-industrialized food desert of South Los Angeles. Thousands of farm supporters from across the country joined celebrities like Julia Butterfly Hill, John Quigley, Daryl Hannah, Joan Baez, Willie Nelson, Ralph Nader, and Danny Glover to protest the city's sale of the farm for development. Letters of support poured in from as far away as Oaxaca and South Africa.

But in the early morning of June 13, 2006, after a 3-month encampment on the farm, the sheriff's deputies in SWAT gear and bulldozers arrived and razed two generations of work to reclaim and farm the land. Thousands of people poured into the low-income neighborhood and clutched the chain link fence around the farm or wept from across the street. They witnessed the sheriff's storm across the carefully crafted rows of herbs, cactus, and vegetables. The city forcibly removed protestors who had camped on the land and clung to platforms in tree branches in defiance of an eviction order. Forty-four were arrested. Television cameras from around the country recorded the destruction of nearly twenty years of family farming, and on the noonday news, millions watched as fire trucks uprooting trees and rolled across plots cultivated by parents and their children.

Since that tragic morning when the nation's largest urban farm was uprooted, the farmers have halted development on the farmland, turning back plans to sell the land to clothing giant Forever 21 with the threat of a national boycott. Alarmed residents and the South Central Farmers Support Committee collected thousands of signatures, packed a Planning Department meeting to overflowing, and testified for hours in opposition to the proposed development. The Planning Commission reluctantly reversed itself, requiring an Environmental Impact Report before construction for the shipping center could begin. That project was shelved. The farmers returned in 2011 to protest the city's plan to sell off a 2.7-acre parcel that had been promised as a park for area children to a conglomerate of small clothing manufacturers. The farm remains an international icon of low-income residents creating their own environmental justice.

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Leslie Radford contributed much of this history of the South Central Farmers.

If you have not signed the petition to oppose the warehouse project, click here.