According to Streetsblog Los Angeles‘ Sahra Sulaiman, Still Water Fellows Vanessa Vobis, Craig Dietrich, and collaborators are “saving the world, one garden at a time.” Their project LA Green Grounds continues to dig up both lawns and publicity on its mission to turn Los Angelenos into gardeners.
If you want to save the world, what’s the best way to go about it?
Smaller, more flexible, organic efforts [are] the ones most likely to be sustainable and have a genuine and transformative impact in a community.
I was therefore intrigued to learn about L.A. Green Grounds, an informal organization dedicated to “changing turf into edible gardens in South Los Angeles,” that seemed to embody the organic, smaller-is-better approach.
Leader Craig Dietrich describes the effort as a “labor of love.”
He created L.A. Green Grounds with his wife, Vanessa Vobis, and other gardening activists in 2010. They sought to build a corps of volunteers willing to set up gardens for those in South L.A. who wanted them. Volunteers come together at monthly “dig-ins,” where they spend up to six hours digging up a neighbor’s yard and planting edible crops and herbs. Whenever possible, the gardens are put in front yards so that people in the area can see them as they walk by and, hopefully, come to view gardens as beautiful and appropriate replacements for lawns….
For [Green Grounds participant] Judy, it’s all about “mind change.” Having gardens out front and accessible to neighbors, she said, “gives them good ideas…and shows people that it’s do-able. Even if you can’t do all of it, [you can] do part of it.”
Better yet, she said, “it gives the neighborhood a nice smell.”
Here’s an inspiring time-lapse video by photographer Elon Schoenholz:
This is a time-lapse of a Dig-In by a group called LA Green Grounds (lagreengrounds.org/) that stages daylong volunteer efforts to dig up lawns in South Los Angeles and replace them with edible gardens. LA Green Grounds volunteers design and build the new gardens, generally in front yards, teaching volunteers along the way and fostering community.
Personally, I’d also like to see a video where supermarket aisles flanked by groceries gradually dissolve into sidewalks flanked by gardens.