South Central Farm Revisited

South Central Farm Revisited

Once the nation's largest urban farm, L.A.'s South Central Farm is now an empty lot. Where did all the farmers go? A videojournalist plays detective.

In a conciliatory gesture following the Rodney King verdict and ensuing riots of 1992, the city of Los Angeles allowed local residents to turn a 14-acre plot of land into an urban farm which came to be known as the South Central Farm. By 2003, the city, the property owner and the farmers were fighting over who would occupy the land, by then the largest urban farm in the country. In 2006, the farmers were forced to leave.

Since then a group of residents, calling themselves “South Central Farmers Save the Farm,” continues to organize around the lost property. Some drive two hours to Bakersfield to farm. But most of the former farmers have moved on and are tilling the land at another urban farm in neighboring Watts.

This video by Tracy Chung, featured on YouTube’s “Project: Report,” tells the story of the farmers who used to grow food at the South Central Farm and where they are today. Project: Report is a videojournalism contest presented by YouTube in partnership with the Pulitzer Center intended for non-professional, aspiring journalists to tell stories that might not otherwise be told.

Don’t miss the three-part “Tips From the Frontlines” video series that accompanies this story. Each installment follows videojournalist Chung in different aspects of her one long day of reporting, shooting and editing the story. Watching her strategize and assemble all the components of the story provides rare insight into how professional videojournalists do their job.

Length: 4:23

Video: Tracy Chung