Catch up with the West Hollywood Community Garden and learn from local gardeners.
You may have walked past it before without taking notice, but inside these gates is a magical place: the Detroit Community Garden. I caught up with my fellow green thumb gardeners who have brought this vibrant community garden to life. We explored the joys and challenges of gardening and imagined what the future holds for this beloved community space.
Just six months before getting evicted on October 31st, West Hollywood used to have several community gardens, and this is now the last one in the city. The thing about community gardens is that you have to live in the community and prove residency. So, West Hollywood ceases to have a canyon garden, and we’re left out in the cold. There’s a shortage in other areas, but at least those gardens still exist. This one is going to cease to exist, and there will be nowhere for these people to go.
If the program was run in a way that opened up access to different groups of people in a number of ways, this community garden could truly become an ecological center for the city, utilized by each and every citizen. My understanding is that it’s a private lot that the city can utilize, but the specifics are vague, and we don’t really know. It seems like no one is really going to provide answers. We’re told that the city is currently looking for alternative plots, and some of the gardeners here are trying to find out where those are because the city hasn’t been proactive about it. The people in charge of this in the city aren’t gardeners themselves, so we want to make sure we help them when it comes to our relocation. We want to make sure the new plot is suitable.
I personally have CPTSD, and this garden was recommended to me by my therapist as part of my therapy. It was devastating to find out that I was on a waiting list for over two years to access something that has had such a vast improvement on my quality of life. In the last three weeks since getting my plot, I’ve been out of the house more than I have been in the last three years. I’ve had more conversations, used my brain more, and taken more pride in my community. It’s a huge motivator for my day and gives me a real sense of purpose. It’s something I can nurture. I’m really concerned about what I’ll do when the garden is gone.
I grew up in a Hispanic household, and I feel there’s so much to learn from different generations. With the garden, I got some of that back. I didn’t even realize how much I missed having somebody else, someone besides my age, to talk to. They have so much to share. My grandparents are no longer with me, so I cherish these intergenerational conversations. People in my generation don’t have that after we graduate from college. How do you make adult friends? I’m 32, and I have no idea. This is the closest I’ve gotten to people of our age, and it becomes even harder because they start having families, and those become their built-in friends.
I think it’s really important to have activities where you can have that kind of generational spread. For younger generations, everything is computerized and electronic, with computers, phones, and so on. But for me, I grew up with my grandma on the land. We didn’t spend any money buying fruits or vegetables; everything we needed was there, including animals. First, it’s about people connecting, then the children, the new generation, experiencing where the food comes from. It brings people together and removes all barriers. Despite different political views, here in the garden, it’s just a garden. I don’t care who you voted for or what your beliefs are. I don’t care who you voted for or what your beliefs are. When I look at this beautiful part of the garden, that’s all I see. I’m serious, I’m tired of this constant divide between right and left, like a bright channel and a left channel. It’s only creating unnecessary tension. I had an argument yesterday about politics, and it made me realize that we can still coexist in the garden. It truly is the great equalizer.
Definitely need a permanent space!
We need a line item in the WeHo budget for Community Gardening. Maybe it’s time to think about incentivizing a network of roof top community gardens. The community benefits are far-reaching and should be a part of the vision for our city. A network of community gardens in the city should be a part of any long range plan we have for the city.
This is a great vision for our City!
West Hollywood is becoming more and more urbanized and faceless with the rush toward building new developments to squeeze more and more people on its lots. The city could have planned for city gardens when it was founded,but never did,hence the lack of open gardens for residents.The city inherited a mesh-mash of planning from the county and just accepted what was there. It is interesting the Design Center was built before the city was founded (1984). The city accepted it as is,but I bet the center was encouraged to add on new buildings which it did.Too bad that thinking didn’t… Read more »
So sad the uber rich, who live in giant houses… with cascading gardens, don’t think the rest of us deserve small plots to grow food. I’m hoping it will be much better… and fair… in Heaven!
Fascinating history that has led us to where we are now. Hopefully we can learn from the past this time and choose a better way.
As part of new development landscaping plans, a must should be accommodations for a garden available to the residents. Could be quite imaginative and actually introduce gardening and beauty to those never before exposed to this small joy of life.
As a community gardener, I’ve learned that just as plants need care and attention to grow, so do we need to cultivate our spirits for personal growth. Gardening has taught me the value of patience, perseverance, and hard work, and our city should support and invest in the garden as a source of spiritual renewal and healing for individuals and the community as a whole.
Thank you so much for bringing light to this very important issue! With multi billion dollar companies buying up almost everything in WEHO… and stretching buildings to literal boundary limits… this city is being destroyed by concrete. Joni Mitchell totally predicted this in the song “Big Yellow Taxi.” West Hollywood has the community.. and people working together… that could put us on the map as the leading city for urban gardening and the environment. We just need city council to get on board!
I just emailed our City Manager and Councilmembers to float the idea of using the property in the park where the new AIDS Monument was supposed to be installed. Anyone is welcome to do the same thing!
Let’s see where this goes.
That’s a great idea! I also think that all this giant apartment buildings, that keep replacing smaller affordable ones… and charging insane rents, should be required to provide one garden plot for every 5 units. Or something like that.
We need all the good ideas we can get! Thank you for advocating for us!
As one resident gardner stated, “the community garden is the great equalizer”. We could all contemplate that thought and act upon it. Plants need fertilizer and care, residents in communities need positive fertilizer and care. Less divisiveness and putting energy into watching welcoming plants grow.
Yes yes yes!
I love the idea and there should be more of them.