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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. 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.

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Departures

Richland Farms: An Introduction

When Reverend Compton donated the land that we now know as Compton, he stipulated that a certain acreage be zoned for agricultural purposes. Thus the City of Compton and Richland Farms were born.
Departures

The New Compton

Compton is experiencing a re-birth thanks in part to the perseverance and vision of some of its residents and political figures.
Departures

Yvonne Arceneaux - Councilwoman 3rd District

Yvonne Arceneaux has served as a councilwoman in District 3, Richland Farms since 1993.
Departures

Compton Creek

Today, the lush vegetation along Compton Creek provides a glimpse into a time when the wetlands of Compton and Vernon were zoned for agriculture.
Departures

Cliff Williams - Cliff Texas Style Burritos

Cliff Williams is the owner of Cliff's Burritos, a Mexican food joint just off the northeast corner of Richland Farms.
Departures

Non-governmental Organizations

Over the last decade health care and access to green space have become central topics of the debate around the revitalization of inner cities such as Compton.
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Departures

Los Angeles Changing Demographics: 1940s to the Present

When black families began migrating from the rural South to Compton and Richland Farms in the 1950s, they found their "home away from home" in this small community.
Departures

Rachel Surls - County Director at UC Cooperative Extension

County Director at UC Cooperative Extension, Rachel Surls is fascinated by the complexities and contradictions of Los Angeles' agricultural and planning history.
Departures

The Rise of Hip Hop and the Black Flight

By the end of the 1960s, African-Americans had abandoned the search for a racial Promise Land and had come to terms with the near impossible task of overcoming the physical, philosophical and economical barriers created by centuries of racism.
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Departures

Mildred Johnson - Raymond Park Community Garden

Adjacent to Compton Creek is a small fertile community garden at Raymond Street Park with an abundance of vegetables thanks in part to the care of retired landscaper Mildred Johnson.
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