Go see this award-winning documentary about a highly-politicized patch of green and the community who cultivated it in South Central Los Angeles. The saga of this urban garden and its people screens this week at the Elmwood theatre in Berkeley and the Lumiere in San Francisco.
It’s gritty, complex, full of shady backroom deals, greed, and, being L.A., the odd celebrity or two. Mostly, though, it’s the story of some 350 working class Latino families trying to survive in a harsh and unforgiving environment. Check out those towering banana plants. Marvel at that healthy cactus. Look at those rows of colorful corn. So much abundance in a previously blighted 14-acre plot. The South Central Farmers fought the good fight — and they’re still at it — for the basic human need to grow food.
It’s got conflict. It’s got drama. It’s got poor versus rich. It will make you want to go home and do as Tezo, one of the main character’s in the film suggests at a post-screening Q&A, “tear down your fences, rip up your lawns, grow your own food, and build community.” That’s a sentiment I can totally dig.