Big Victory for Our Community Garden

[The following article appeared dated August 15, 2012, in the South Los Angeles. Report, an online project of USC's Annenberg School for Communication, reporting the success of the Raymond Avenue Community Garden in finally gaining legal title to the land and securing the popular garden's future. The Raymond Avenue Community Garden is a treasure in our neighborhood, and contains more than 30 small plots where neighbors raise vegetables and flowers. The Van Buren Place Community Restoration Association donated the funds to build the garden shed.  For many years until the community garden was created early in 2008 the location at  2632 S. Raymond Avenue had been a major nuisance. It had once been the site of a two-story historic Craftsman home. It had been turned into a boarding house by owner Angele Lang, who also owned several other downscale properties in the area. In 1990 she got into a major fight with her tenants and was barred by a court order from entering the property, which apparently was taken over by drug dealers. In 1991 there was an arson fire that left the house uninhabitable. It sat in that condition for five years. At one point the Van Buren block club came out and boarded the windows, as neither the city nor the owner would do so and transients were squatting in the ruin. Finally, in 1996, then-City Councilperson Mark Ridley-Thomas brought out a wrecking crew and demolished the structure, leaving the empty lot, which sat empty until Raymond Avenue resident Julie Burleigh succeeded in founding the Community Garden there in 2008.]

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Community Garden Victory in South LA

Julie Burleigh in the Raymond Ave. Community GardenThe green thumbs at the Raymond Avenue Community Garden are celebrating a big victory. As of Tuesday, July 31, 2012, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust is the new owner of the land where nearby residents grow their fruits and vegetables.

For the past five years, Angela Lang, the property’s owner, allowed Julie Burleigh to use her abandoned property as a community garden, with the promise that they would leave should she want to sell it. The situation worried Burleigh, who came up with the idea of the community garden, tracked down Lang and negotiated the conditions of use of the land.

Lang owed $100,000 in back taxes and thanks to the generosity of a donor who stepped in, the Land Trust was able to buy the land to convert it into permanent green space in the city before it was auctioned off.

Listen to Burleigh talk about the garden:

Here is a link to Julie Burleigh on YouTube talking about the garden.

Photos of the empty lot and community gardeners courtesy of Julie Burleigh.