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  • Urban fruit: An untapped resource

    fruit tree map of L.A.
    Photo: Fallen Fruit.

    Here's a great local food/art initiative, Fallen Fruit, a map project of neighborhoods where one can collect unwanted fruit in Los Angeles. Humans should be making use of these urban apples, avocados, pomegranates, etc. as much as possible, not raking them up into a garbage bag or compost pile. The folks at LocalEcology have started one for Berkeley, and folks with the Portland Fruit Tree Project collect fruit that grows on neighborhood trees for drop-off at local food banks (check out the links section of their site for other projects like it in Philadelphia, Vancouver, and more). Their harvesting parties look to be very fun and take place on Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., beginning August 2.

    Is there free fruit by you?

  • Jake Gyllenhaal to open organic restaurant

    Jake Gyllenhaal is planning to open an organic restaurant with a childhood friend. The 27-year-old reportedly wants to launch a high-class eatery in LA with chef Chris Fischer … The actor is said to be planning a cycling holiday in Tuscany with girlfriend Reese Witherspoon to help develop ideas for the menu. Oh, Jakey … […]

  • Anticipation

    I’m sitting here at the venue for tomorrow afternoon’s event: the Wadsworth Theater. It is … large. I think around 1500 people are going to be sitting in here tomorrow, judging me for the poor quality of my shoes and my neglected fitness regime. I hear from the organizers that press attention has gotten nuts. […]

  • L.A. bereft of clouds, rain; climate change the culprit?

    I arrived in L.A. yesterday in the midst of an unusual meteorological phenomenon. The sky seems to have been wiped out, replaced entirely with a deep, featureless expanse of turquoise blue. And that’s not the weirdest part. All day long, a strong, bright light was falling from the sky on inhabitants, as though we were […]

  • A perspective from Eric Mann

    A Latina woman addresses the board of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). She is part of a crowd of 1,500 people opposing the agency's proposed bus-fare increases. She holds her 3-year-old child up to the board and says, "What would you like me to do? Take the clothes off his back or the food out of his mouth?"

    Bus Riders Union rally

    L.A., with 10 million people and 7 million cars on the road, is the freeway capital of the U.S. For more than 14 years, the MTA on one side and the Strategy Center and Bus Riders Union (BRU) on the other have been fighting over the future of L.A.'s public transportation -- a fight with important implications for the future of the environmental movement. The heavyweight bout has grown more high-profile this year. Despite massive opposition, on May 24, 2007, the MTA board of directors voted to raise the daily bus fare from $3 to $5 a day and the cost of a monthly bus pass from $52 to $62 a month. This is just the first step in a draconian trajectory that will, if not stopped, push the monthly bus pass to $75 and then $90, force many low-income people off the buses, and compel people to use or buy old cars instead of taking public transit. These policies will increase toxic air pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions, and make the bus riders poorer while making rail contractors richer.

    The fight over the fare hikes has become a cause célèbre. The Bus Riders Union and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are in state court trying to reverse the fare hikes on environmental grounds. The BRU is also in front of the federal courts asking for a five-year extension of a federal civil-rights consent decree controlling MTA actions. Dozens of BRU organizers are on the buses, talking to thousands of bus riders, holding community meetings to plan our next countermove. The fight to reverse those fare increases, buy more buses, and stop future money-sucking rail projects is far from over. This dramatic expansion in the breadth and impact of the environmental movement in L.A. could be a model for urban coalitions throughout the U.S.

  • In Black

    Hey, L.A.-area folk — if you’re around this weekend, head to the Jazz Bakery in Culver City at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, to watch talented teenage jazz musicians In Black. (Here’s their MySpace, with songs for your listening pleasure.) The Culver City stop is part of the group’s climate-focused Solutions Tour, and you […]

  • South Central Community Farm update

    If you haven't been keeping up: The situation at the South Central Community Farm has gotten even more grim. The farmers have received an eviction order. A variety of celebs and quasi-celebs and hippie ex-celebs have taken up direct action, camping out on the farm. Julia Butterfly Hill is even sitting up in a tree. It's not looking good.

    Go give them some money.

    (Meanwhile, the same city that can't cough up $10 million for this community farm is contemplating spending $800 million renovating a sports stadium to attract an NFL team. Awesome.)

  • Save South Central Farm

    Over at Daryl Hannah's vlog, dh love life, she's posted an "emergency episode" about the plight of the South Central Farm that Dave blogged about recently.

    Watch it now. (Damn, those fruits and veggies look good!)

  • Why greens should join forces with gardeners to face down the bull dozers in LA.

    Even though I abandoned Brooklyn for the Appalachians, I'm no sentimental pastoralist. I'm a long-term disciple of the great urban theorist (and champion of cities) Jane Jacobs. Human history since the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago has been a history of cities. Cities are the future; as David Owen's superb article "Green Manhattan" (PDF) shows, they may be our only hope. The trick is to create agricultural systems within and just outside of cities, minimizing the ruinous effects of long-haul freight transit, slashing the fossil-fuel inputs embedded in food production, maximizing availability of fresh delicious food, and boosting local and even neighborhood economies.

    Farmers' markets have been the most visible effort at creating sustainable urban food networks. Equally if not more important, although virtually invisible to well-heeled urban foodies who laudably support farmers' markets, inner-city gardening projects represent a vanguard in the effort to overthrow industrial food and reintroduce sustainably grown, delicious food to populations that were knocked off the land a generation or two ago.

    There's been a lot of talk around here about whether or not humanity's future requires messing up Bobby Kennedy Jr.'s ocean view from "the Vineyard." (I say, the hell with him. Mess it up!) This story may be more important, though: An LA developer wants to bulldoze a 14-acre community garden, with 360 family plots, right in the middle of an industrial zone in South Central. The city should be paying these people to do what they're doing, for all the environmental and social benefits they're creating. At the very least, the city should buy the land back from the developer and make the garden permanent.

    LA greens, and I know you're out there, get out and man the barricades with those brave gardeners.