City-dwellers in LA are transforming unused plots into miniature farmland
Just in Los Angeles alone, more than 70 community gardens are spudding and feeding about 3,900 local families.
By Sophia Lee
Feb 28, 2013
Jeanne Kelley has a big bowl of salad for dinner every night.
She lives across from a giant supermarket in Eagle Rock, a hill-studded neighborhood northeast of Los Angeles. But instead of driving to the store, she walks three minutes down the hill to a community garden called Rockdale, where she picks arugula, lettuce, snow peas, spinach, tomatoes or kale—whatever is in season and ready to harvest.
Kelley, a cookbook author and food stylist, owns a few feet of beds in Rockdale. The community garden forms a long stretch of 50 plots on what used to be light-rail tracks. One sunny Tuesday afternoon, Kelley walked me through the shady garden, snapping emerald snow peas from their stem.
“Just taste how sweet they are,” she said, crunching into the plump pods on the spot. “There are so many great, simple meals I can eat just by coming here. Healthier, too.”
Dressed in black skinny jeans and ankle cowboy boots, Kelley doesn’t exactly embody the image of a farmer, but she’s got all the workings of a farm in her backyard: thriving beds of produce, an open-air chicken coop, numerous fruit trees, and even a bee hive (recently ensconced in her neighbor’s tree).