In 1992, fifty-three people were killed in a riot that devastated the already violent South Central neighborhood of Los Angeles. As the impoverished community struggled to overcome hardships, an oasis of hope sprung in the midst of despair – a 14-acre urban farm, nurtured and cultivated under the watchful eye of South Central residents.
The Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men will host a public screening of “The Garden,” a 2008 film by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, which explores the creation – and ultimate destruction – of the farm, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16, in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
Following the screening, a panel comprised of local farmers, food activists and Hobart and William Smith faculty and staff will be on hand to discuss the film, the current state of agriculture in the region and answer questions. Members of the HWS and Geneva communities are invited to engage in a talk about the importance of local produce and the role that social status and politics play in food and food production. The discussion will be the Center’s last talk of 2011, a continuation on the theme of “Digesting Gender: The Politics of Food.”
“The Garden” follows the plight of farmers in South Central Los Angeles as they fight City Hall to save the tilled soil of their 14-acre urban farm. Kennedy paints a portrait of the money, poverty, power struggles and racial tension that twined to create the fight for the country’s largest urban farm.
The garden helped thousands to feed their families and find light in the creation of a tight-knit community in a neighborhood plagued by gang violence and extreme poverty. Once a haven for immigrants on the unforgiving streets of L.A., the land occupied by the farm was sold by the city to a wealthy land developer, forcing the farmers from their land.
The documentary examines and exposes the cracks in American society that force us to ask critical questions regarding what constitutes justice, what it means to be free and equal and how these decisions effect the most vulnerable among us.
For more information on the film, visit its website at http://www.thegardenmovie.com/about-the-film/