LA Green Grounds members Vanessa Vobis and Craig Dietrich visited the Los Angeles Eco-Village last month while hosting Maine permaculturalists Joline Blais and Jon Ippolito for an ecology-themed week at USC. The group were given a tour by Eco-village founder Lois Arkin, who has helped grow the community from one building in 1980 to the many residences, streets and gardens it is today. The Eco-village is nestled in urban Los Angeles (just West of downtown), and, as the group discovered on their tour, has access to many benefits such as year-round sunlight, public transportation, and local markets. At the same time, village members are active advocates for sustainability, sharing and walkable neighborhoods in an area with quickly changing density and infrastructure.
Due to their work in the community the Eco-village is a leader in local and national conversations about about the policies and assumptions that govern urban areas. Having successfully purchased and maintained community land, worked with the city to make streets safer for pedestrians, and presently moving from a single-ownership model under a trust agreement to community ownership, the village serves as a inspiration for both LA Green Grounds, whose members have begun advocating for changes in the laws governing front-yards and parkways, and Maine’s emerging Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage, the 2011 LEED Project of the Year.
A couple weeks later LA Green Grounder Craig Dietrich, in Boston for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies conference, walked to the South End’s Berkeley Community Garden that is tucked between brick buildings, T trains and coffe shops. There, Craig toured the many garden plots that are transitioning from Winter’s snow cover to Spring’s growing season. Even before being touched by gardeners, Craig saw how the Boston soil was bouncing to life with native volunteer plants, grasses, and blooming edibles. This growth was being supplemented with gardeners planting a new crop of vegetables and herbs.
Since 1992 the Berkeley Street garden has been held in a land trust, invoking a bicoastal conversation about Berkeley’s land management by the South End Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust and LA Green Grounds ally Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. Both groups convert private land to public commons that promote community-building, walkable streets and a re-establishment of connections between people and the food they eat.COMMENTS