This short video begins with a common story: land prices are skyrocketing due to speculation, farming is increasingly cost-prohibitive, and farmers can’t get access to the land and equipment they need. The video focuses on new farmers and the Peconic Land Trust of Long Island, which helps provide land and equipment for farmers. Land trusts are one of the only legal means to acquire land and protect it from the pressures of speculation and urbanization. The video has interviews with new farmers who are starting out, and some older ones who mentor them. It’s fairly romantic and celebratory of local farming, which they kinda acknowledge themselves.
This documentary follows the struggle of a poor, primarily Latino community in South Central LA to save a huge community garden/farm–the largest urban farm in the U.S. It’s among the best food documentaries I’ve seen, because it doesn’t romanticize food and it gets at the deeper issues surrounding urban farming, including poverty, gentrification, racism, development, and subsistence. The farmers self-organized to save the farm and used court injunctions, public outreach, media campaigns, and direct action to defend the farm from destruction, after the owner decided he wanted to evict the farmers. It was never entirely clear what the land was going to be used for instead of a garden: a soccer field? An industrial development? In the end, it doesn’t matter: from the point of view of capital, anything is better than people using land for subsistence.
It came out in 2008 and is available as a DVD… or as a torrent, if you’re into that.