Los Angeles residents are required to mow and water their parkways—the strips of city-owned land between the curbs and sidewalks. I turned my parkway into a garden, where I grow kale, tomatoes, watermelons, and other organic fruits and vegetables.
But what I’m doing is technically illegal: Residents are supposed to get permits to grow gardens on parkways. These permits cost at least $400 and can run as much as thousands of dollars. Even with the permit, plants can’t be more than three feet high.
The city threatened to shut down my garden, but thanks to support from my group L.A. Green Grounds, Change.org, Councilman Herb Wesson's office, and the South Los Angeles community, my hearing was canceled and I was able to keep it. But there’s a larger problem here: Expensive, time-consuming permits limit the gardening that could be going on in LA.
Many Los Angeles neighborhoods—like the Crenshaw area I live in—are food deserts. If residents were allowed to use their parkways to grow food, they could save money, be able to access fresh fruits and veggies, and produce food for themselves and their neighbors.
Urban gardeners like me aren’t looking for a handout—we’re just looking for access to grow food for ourselves and for our communities. The Government is supposed to be in service to the community, not the other way around. The most important resource is PEOPLE. Please listen to THE PEOPLE.
Please sign my petition to Mayor Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council. I’m asking these lawmakers to change the rules to make it easier for residents to grow gardens on parkways.
Support Urban Gardening on Parkways
Ron Finley transformed the parkway in front of his Crenshaw-area home into a thriving, urban garden growing kale, tomatoes, watermelons, and other produce. While the garden boosts local food security, cuts back on unnecessary water use, and provides organic food to an economically depressed neighborhood, until recently the city was threatening to shut Finley’s garden down.
It’s commendable that the city is letting Finley keep growing his garden. However, there’s a larger problem at play: Permits to transform parkways into gardens are expensive and time-consuming to obtain. By making it so difficult to obtain these gardening permits, the city is thwarting what could be a thriving local food scene in Los Angeles. Growing gardens on parkways could help residents save money, produce food for themselves and their communities, and help alleviate the city’s food desert problem.
The Government is supposed to be in service to the community, not the other way around. The most important resource is PEOPLE. Please listen to THE PEOPLE. Urban gardeners like Finley should be applauded—not penalized. Please take action to amend city regulations. Please make it easier for residents to grow gardens on their parkways.