South Central Farmers being evicted

They created the largest urban farm in America. The owner of the land wants to sell it. The farmers have refused to leave. Dozens are camping there, some living in trees, in protest. Early this morning ‘hundreds’ of police moved in to start the evictions.

LA Indymedia has breaking news, ditto for KPFK.

Update: Converge at 41st and Alameda. Map

Urgent message from the South Central Farmers:

At this moment, the South Central Farm is under siege. If you live in LA or in the surrounding area, we urge you to come to the farm to keep the protesters and farmers safe from LA County Sheriffs and the LAPD. The immediate area around the Farm has been blocked off by the police, limiting access to the site. Spontaneous rallies of support have sprouted on the perimeters of the farm with crowds increasing in size as the morning passes.

Protesters still inside the Farm are being physically removed and arrested. The easiest access is to come from the South side of the farm coming north on Alameda or to head east towards the Farm on 41st or any other streets that run east/west bound. Once again, this is the Red Alert! The Sheriffs have begun and are carrying out the eviction! Mobilize as many people as you come to continue to protest this oppressive action arrests have already been made. It is still unconfirmed but there are also reports that a protester was carried out on a stretcher. Bulldozers positioned nearby have began breaking through the fences. Once again, please converge to the Farm. Thank you for your support.

Update 2. (all links have video and photos)

Dozens of arrests

Daryl Hannah to be removed from tree.

Farmers, celebrities evicted from urban plot

41st and Alameda is/was blocked by protestors, “illegal assembly” order has been given. Fences and the farm is being bulldozed. Protestors have chained themselves to objects to prevent being dragged away.

  • Linda Piera-Avila asked me to forward this, since she is back at farm this morning. She is a Green Party organizer that has been she has been intensely involved for several weeks onsite and before the encampment. This was sent to many Green lists.

    What a sad day yesterday…

    We truly live in a fascist government, esp. if one is a person of color or poor or both. I was not at the Farm when the heavy hammer came down, but arrived shortly afterward. In time to see hundreds of armed law enforcement types do their militaristic maneuvers.

    At one point they were pointing tear gas guns in the direction of the crowd in which I was a part. They would not let legal observers in to see what was happening to the arrestees. They would not let us give them water. They did not give the warning period before commencing arrests inside the Farm, as they are required to do by law.

    They started cutting the walnut tree with John and Daryl still in the upper limbs. (Daryl will be on Larry King tonight.) They sent bulldozers in not only to clear a path to the tree, but also to wantonly and spitefully destroy random plots.

    The news keeps reporting Horowitz’ side, but very little mention of the Farmers’ side – that the land was sold out from under them in a back room deal three years ago. Then, recently, with the efforts of Julia and others, the money to buy the farm was raised, but he refused to sell to the Farmers because he “doesn’t believe in the cause.” I guess that means he doesn’t eat. I wouldn’t be surprised as he obviously has no heart, either. He is like the disembodied Sauron. I guess Frodo failed this time.

    It was a spontaneous, organic, joyful, simple, peaceful group of very different folks who came together for this cause along with the farmers. It was like being in a Mexican village. The farmers kept us fed with good vegan food, a lot of which was from the farm. Often you could hear someone playing music. We had a healing center where bodyworkers volunteered and where people could get first aid or counseling or a nap. We had an art center where people could make banners, posters, or whatever was needed for the daily press conferences and evening vigils.

    We had a media table, set up outside with internet and fax and powered by solar panels from Taran Smith’s veggie van (he was the youngest son on Home Improvement). The farm organizers and tree sitters had daily conferences in the peach orchard to plan strategy. We had nightly vigils, inviting leaders from all religious backgrounds to lead inspirational moments, followed by the Aztec blessing and then a candlelight  procession around the perimeter of the Farm.

    We had young people arranging security: anarchists, zapatistas, and others. All very respectful of others. I was doing ground support for the tree sitters and trying to monitor Julia (she is stubborn) during her prolonged fast. (Lisa’s insert: Linda is a physical therapist, in addition to all of her Green Party organizing talents.) A heavy responsibility.

    In many ways, I think the community at the Farm was a model of what could be, and what might be when peak oil hits and what should be, so that resources are avaiable to all and no one has to starve. As you’ve learned in your odysseys, we really don’t need all the stuff we’re told we need.

    My heart is heavy this morning as I reflect on what has been lost and the foolishness of the City of L.A. in not nuturing this gem, this oasis in the midst of urban grit and greed. All the players’ excuses and disclaimers only serve to confirm the disease of our dominant culture and the idolatry of private property rights to the exclusion of the commons and human need. 350 low income families will now be without access to their crops. I wonder how Horowitz and the mayor and the councilwoman would feel if they could not get fruits and vegetables.

    A court case will begin July 12. Let’s hope the truth will be revealed then and that the farmers will be able to return to their plots. It is a sad day when people are criminalized for growing their own food. What I saw yesterday looked more like a third world country with peasants being thrown off the land for a corporation’s interests, rather than a scene from the US.

    The random destruction of the plots also reminded me of the time when white buffalo hunters would kill the animals for their tongues and hides and leave the carcasses to rot on the plains. No respect for life or the planet. No heart. No soul.

    Linda Piera-Avila

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