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New Roots for LA Community Gardens
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In late-summer, late-afternoon sun, Irvin Alonso claims the prize for his wife's work tending a plot in the Fountain Community Gardens: handfuls of sweet small tomatoes, a fist of radishes, and fat, fragrant squash. For a little time weeding and watering, he says he's looking forward to eating well.
From Santa Monica to North Hollywood, community gardens in Los Angeles County are bursting with bounty. They're also packed with waiting lists of would-be gardeners. It's a longstanding problem in a city laced with pockets of green space where green-thumbed Angelenos hold tight to their claims – sometimes passing down garden plots through families. Community garden council leaders say the problem's growing faster now, with the current economy sprouting new interest in urban farming. Still, that challenge is being met in a number of ways in Los Angeles.
Alissa Kueker and Danielle Marie Holland think things are looking up - or, at the very least, their Rocknroll Community Gardens aim to do that. They want to create a vibrant community of art, music, fruits and vegetables on Silver Lake and Echo Park rooftops. Kueker says she's inspired by New York, where she lived last, and San Francisco and Chicago, where rooftop gardens are more common.
Regional community garden leaders, frustrated with oversized demand, are now fertilizing garden sharing agreements. A new social networking site matches eager green thumbs with landowners green at planting and willing to share their soil.
Through stories, an audio slideshow and a video, KPCC's Molly Peterson takes a look at a couple of ways gardeners are seeking fertile ground in Southern California communities.