When Griffith D. Compton donated his land to incorporate and create the city of Compton in 1889, he stipulated that a certain acreage be zoned for agricultural purposes only -- thus Richland Farms was born. The large residential lots of Richland Farms provided residents with enough space to raise a family, have a barn, tend to livestock and grow food. So it was no surprise that when black families began migrating from the rural South in the 1950's, they found their 'home away from home' in this small community. And although it didn't support large-scale agricultural business, the area did allow residents to work the land for their own use and benefit of the community.
As we explore the land and history of Richland Farms, while taking a look back at the forms of informal urban agriculture practiced by the area's black residents during the 1950s and '60s. The story also traces 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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