Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Community garden takes root in East Hollywood

East Hollywood Community Garden site | Barry Lank


EAST HOLLYWOOD — The Los Angeles Community Garden Council says it will open its third-largest community garden on a vacant lot in the middle of a densely populated neighborhood.

“We already have a list of more than 80 people who’d like to grow food there,” said Julie Beals, the executive director of the LACGC. The garden will start with 35 plots for lease, then possibly add another 10 to 15 later. The remaining land will be a communal growing area, Beals said.

The East Hollywood Community Garden will occupy the back half of a scrubby vacant lot on Madison Avenue, two houses down from the corner at Lexington. The front half will be a pocket park, managed by the Trust for Public Land.

The 24,000-square-foot lot has been vacant since at least 2001, when the LACGC first started looking at it, Beals said.

“This site has been screaming for positive use for a long time,” said Robin Mark, project manager with the TPL.

And while the park won’t open until well into 2017, the garden is scheduled to begin next fall, Beals said. Competition for slots in the garden, as Beals indicated, is expected to be strong.

“Basically, interested people need to contact LACGC or show up for a volunteer day at the garden to get on our list, and then there will be a lottery,” Beals said. “Plots will be allocated for three, four or five years to begin with, so that after the third year, plots become available to other gardeners each year.”

For those who don’t win the lottery, the communal growing area in the center strip of the garden will serve for demonstrations, classes and larger projects such as pumpkin plants, Beals said.

The largest LACGC community garden in the city is Stanford-Avalon in South L.A., Beals said. The second largest is Solano Canyon in Chinatown, at 4.5 acres. (Wattles Farm in Hollywood is also larger, but is not managed by LACGC.)

The land, which is owned by the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks, is currently being rezoned from “residential” to “open space,” a process that should take about six months, Mark said.

Barry Lank grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, then went away for a seriously long time. He has worked in TV and radio, and currently helps produce The Final Edition Radio Hour.

Clean-up day | Barry Lank

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