A short video on lack of access to land for farmers on Vancouver Island (where I’ve lived for the past four years), including interviews with farmers and policymakers. Southern Vancouver Island is a popular retirement destination, and this has driven up the cost of farmland. Numerous farmers are retiring, and new ones can’t afford to lease (let alone buy) farmland. Recommendations call for a land bank, community land trusts, co-ops and infrastructure support for farmers, all of which has been on the lips of farmers and farmer-advocates for a number of years in Southern Vancouver Island.
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.