“The Garden” wins top documentary award – and is a must-see!



Straight from the movie’s website the synopsis:

The fourteen-acre community garden at 41st and Alameda in South
Central Los Angeles is the
largest of its kind in the United States.
Started as a form of healing after the devastating L.A. riots in 1992,
the South Central Farmers have since created a miracle in one of the
country’s most blighted neighborhoods. Growing their own food. Feeding
their families. Creating a community.

But now, bulldozers are poised to level their 14-acre oasis.

And so the drama begins!  This struggle between community gardeners and the powers that be is riveting, I tell ya.  It’s an epic legal battle, with the 372 farmers playing the heroes.  (The 14 center-city acres of garden are sacred to them, and we can see why.)  Then playing their villainous roles to the hilt are a corrupt community organizer ("a poverty pimp"), an equally corrupt city councilperson, and a particularly despicable developer.

THE PREMIEREThegardenmovie300
"The Garden," by documentary filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy, recently premiered to the world as an
entry in the Silver Docs film festival at the American Film Institute’s theater in Silver Spring, Maryland and walked away with the top honor
of the festival – for full feature.  No surprise to the viewing public that night, who were on their feet applauding and cheering, including this intrepid blogger.  And just maybe the movie’s success will help rally the media and the national consciousness to the cause of urban farming.

So, was the premiere exciting?  Well, not in a red carpet way – nothing like the opening two days later in LA, with Darryl Hannah in attendance and doing interviews – but yeah, it was. The filmmaker said a quick hello before the movie started and told us he was "trying not to throw up". 

So we watched, we cheered, and Kennedy got emotional, in a good way.  Also accepting the kudos and answering questions were garden president and star of the movie, Rafina Juarez, and an executive producer whose name I hope someone will send me .  These are not just filmmakers but clearly activists, as well, and they told us to check their website for information about petitioning our governments for land.  "We need to educate our children to grow food.  All most kids know is how to open the refrigerator door," said Juarez.  And she sang the praises of their pro bono lawyer, an awesome guy who’s currently representing people in Kenya fighting the dastardly Chevron company.

See it, yes, by all means.  But if there’s anything more you can do – like arranging a screening –  DO IT.  Just contact these nice folks


  1. Sounds like a must-see. We all know that gardens are important. But a movie about a garden? It might give people the idea that gardens are important.

  2. Do you know the ending to this story, or is it still continuing? Can you keep us updated on what is happening? Is there any way that we can support these folks?

  3. susan,

    thank you for this great write up, and for anyone in the Los Angeles area, the LAFF just gave us another screening so please come down this friday:

    laff just gave us another screening. Friday 6/27 at 4:30pm.
    Landmark, 10850 W. Pico (at westwood, the westside pavillion) free
    parking. Tickets are $12.

    check out the trailer at thegardenmovie.com, and please spread the
    word if you can!



    ps: here is what the jury at silverdocs said about THE GARDEN

    The Garden wins top honors at Silverdocs.

    The Garden, by director Scott Hamilton Kennedy, won a Sterling award
    for best U.S. feature. The Sterling Feature Jury praised the film for
    “its tenacity in storytelling in the face of injustice, and the
    filmmaker’s singular vision in bringing a gripping, dramatic, and
    important story to the public eye. The Garden has raw emotion,
    visceral energy, and nail-biting twists and turns. It unravels a
    complex and layered tale of the destruction of America’s largest
    urban farm that must not be forgotten,” the jury citation said. The
    movie had its World Premiere at Silverdocs.

  4. Why have I never even heard of this garden before? It is fantastic! The sheer size is awesome. I can’t believe I have never seen a news story about any of this.

  5. The same thing is happening in London with allotment gardens — garden space allotted “in perpetuity” for poor people to be able to raise food. A major garden spot has been razed for the 2012 Olympic gardens. Go to National Public Radio for the Kitchen Sisters story on it.
    Some of these gardens have been in use since WWI and earlier, but apparently “forever” doesn’t mean anything. I’ve read that the alternative plots offered to the folks ousted by the Olympics had poor soil and major drainage problems. They have been told they can go back to the Olympic Garden space 5 years from now. How nice. Really sours me on the Olympics.

  6. Thanks for pointing me toward this film. It has just played on our tv here in New Zealand (look us up, we’re way down here in the Pacific ). The thing I took from it was that people have forgotten what honor is,the supposed “owner” had the least, and my belief in politicians has not been swayed, they too could learn a thing or two about honor and honesty.

    I liked this movie as much as I love my compost, and I LOVE my compost.

  7. I just seen this film It made me angry at Horowitz what a cruel man and the Mayor for not being there for his people.

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