Reclaiming LA

Communities in Los Angeles are turning industrial sites into pockets of green.

Tucked next to the 105 Freeway, just east of the Los Angeles International Airport, is the Lennox Community Garden. Once an agricultural hamlet, Lennox is now a densely built neighborhood cornered by two freeways. There is little room for green spaces. But in 2012, residents set out to change that, transforming an abandoned parcel of land owned by the California Department of Transportation into a series of raised garden beds packed with vegetables — a veritable oasis in this urban landscape.

In the San Gabriel Valley, 30 miles to the east, community members are fighting to turn a closed landfill into hundreds of acres of permanent open space. The landfill was closed 25 years ago, and its terraced grassy slopes are already home to mule deer, gray foxes and a variety of birds. And in Baldwin Hills, a state agency is hoping to purchase land that is currently dotted with operational oil pump jacks, transform it into hiking trails, fields and parks, and then put it into public use and ownership.

Lennox Community Garden was a vacant site left over following the construction of the 105 Freeway in the 1980s. The community garden opened in 2012.

This reuse of industrial space, often spearheaded by communities of color that have historically lacked easy access to parks and gardens, provides an inspiring blueprint for how to reclaim and replenish the land, both for ourselves and the generations to come, Los Angeles-based photographer Stella Kalinina told High Country News. “It’s a regenerative process,” she said. “They are healing the land, healing our cities and healing people.”

Read the rest of the story at https://www.hcn.org/issues/53.7/photos-social-justice-reclaiming-la

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High Country News

High Country News

Working to inform and inspire people — through in-depth journalism — to act on behalf of the West’s diverse natural and human communities.

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