La Madera Community Garden, Los Angeles
Cash crop? A hot sauce called Los Angeles
Residents and community activists came together
As you walk through the trellised entrance heavy with vines, a brightly colored sign greets you and the aromatic scents of ripening fruit beckons you in at La Madera Community Garden.

In the LA County City of El Monte sits a small plot of land tucked between a dusty fast food chain and small suburban homes and apartments. A decade ago, residents and community activists came together to create the city’s first and only community garden at this very site, and the La Madera Community Garden continues to thrive ten years later. Currently over 30 families, many of them with Asian or Latin American roots, cultivate plots in the garden under the leadership of the volunteer Garden Manager, Carmen Macias. A diversity of languages, cultural techniques and growing practices from across the world converge at this 17,000 square foot site, owned by a generous private landowner who leases the land for a nominal fee.

 

 

“I love the model of sourcing locally, and creating a relationship with community members. There’s not a lot of entrepreneurial opportunities [in El Monte], so anything we can do to boost it, especially now, is great.”
Elizabeth Christey
Support Your Local Community Gardens

“We figured out the garden is definitely an economic engine, and it’s a communal space… Our plan is to really keep figuring out how it can be a vehicle for greater social change.”

Each bottle of hot sauce purchased directly supports La Madeira Community Gardens and many other gardens with vibrant social missions to strengthen the fabric of urban neighborhoods.

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