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. Real estate disputes in 2006, however, put an end to the community garden, and the farmers were evicted from the land.

Similar to the struggles of the South Central farmers, the land and history of Compton's Richland Farms can provide a new springboard for community-based environmental practices.

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.


Chapter 1 The Past
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.
Chapter 2 The Present
As Compton enters a new era of social stability and economical development, its city government and residents see Richland Farms' as a potential ecological, sustainable, urban agricultural model.


Youth Voices is a digital literacy and civic engagement program that invites youth to explore their neighborhood and become active participants in all aspects of their community. Take a look at some of their work and the Youth Voices curriculum. READ MORE arrow