Written by Elsie Andreyev
After spending the better part of my four years at Cal learning about environmental politics and food systems, I was excited to put my knowledge to use at a nonprofit working to create and sustain community gardens in Los Angeles (LA). The LA Community Garden Council (LACGC) is a very small nonprofit run by a handful of paid employees with support from a wider network of local board members with ties to various organizations such as the LA Food Policy Council. I worked with Julie, the executive director, Diana, the executive assistant, Al, the outreach director, and my fellow intern, Arissa. LACGC manages forty community gardens in LA and consults with more than 125 community gardens in the LA county. Many of the gardens they manage started out as abandoned concrete lots. With the help of LACGC, local residents worked to convert these plots into gardens where communities of diverse backgrounds come together under the LA sunshine to bond over their mutual love of gardening and grow nutritious and accessible food. During my internship, I learned about individual community gardens and the things that make them unique, but I also learned about the struggles these gardens will encounter in the face of the proposed LADWP water rate hike.