Los Angeles County, it turns out, has a thriving urban farming scene. Researchers from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs have created the first comprehensive picture of urban agriculture in the county and found 1,261 verified urban agriculture sites — either school gardens, community gardens or commercial primary growing sites that are quickly becoming part of a larger trend to grow and eat locally.
The majority of urban agricultural activity is happening in schools, with 761 sites found by the researchers. There were a total of 382 nurseries and farms and 118 community gardens. The new report, “Cultivate L.A.: An Assessment of Urban Agriculture in L.A. County,” is intended to help city planners as they learn how to accommodate these new land uses in the nation’s most populous county.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is committed to building community gardens in in the Second District as part of an effort to increase healthy eating habits and foster community building.
Currently, there are there are more than a dozen community gardens up and running in the Second District and more are in the works. Some of the gardens are in schools like Fremont High School while others are in neighborhoods like the Florence-Firestone area and an upcoming inter-generational garden in the Athens neighborhood.
Lots of work remains to be done, with certain areas in Los Angeles less active than others in the farming scene. Residential gardens were not included in the study. But researchers hope this study begins a conversation in the region about how to create a more seamless infrastructure for the growth and supply of produce and a support system for urban agriculture in Los Angeles County’s food ecosystem.
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