About Departures

DEPARTURES is an online documentary series mapping LA neighborhoods through interactive portraits.

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Richland Farms

Several years ago, a group of migrant farmers from Mexico and Central America took over an empty lot in South Central Los Angeles and created a community garden that became a model for urban agriculture. These farmers started out with one basic goal - feed their families as economically as possible using knowledge and practices brought with them from the agrarian roots of Central America. In the process however, the South Central Farmers created a bottom-up, grassroots movement in the heart of Los Angeles that has garnered national attention, questioning the efficacy - and motives - of the mainstream environmental movement.

Real estate disputes in 2006 put an end to the community garden and the farmers were evicted from the land. Similar to the South Central Farmers, the land and history of Compton’s Richland Farms may still provide a new springboard for community-based environmental practices. Departures: Richland Farms will take a look at the land and history; and will also look back at the forms of informal urban agriculture practiced by the area’s black residents during the 1950’s and 60’s. The story will trace the practices that were lost and then recovered by Latinos migrating from Central America, and ask what lessons they may provide for creating models of urban agriculture for future generations.

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