I got to the farm
around midnight, when things were closing down. The second or third
person I talked to was Mike Feinstein, who told the organizers I was an
okay guy. They let me unroll my sleeping bag in a corner by a fence
with a grape vine growing on it. I woke up not long after sunrise, when
the daylight made it impossible to sleep.
It wasn't too much later that I found
the food tent. It was run by this woman, a local who had adopted as her
personal mission to keep us all fed and in the struggle. For breakfast
we had pancakes and fruit, and mine were quite good.
There were three people tree sitting
until the mission succeeded. John Quigley (shown) was famous for the
time he sat in an oak tree for seven months to keep it from being
killed by a street widening project. Daryl Hannah is most known for
her movie roles. Julia Butterfly Hill is most known
for the two years she spent in Luna trying to protect old growth
redwoods in Northern California. This was the first I'd heard of an all
star cast getting together to save a farm.
About 8 AM there was a meeting. It began with Julia leading us in a
very spiritual stretching exercise. Then the woman in the green T shirt
gave us a history of the farm. She explained that the City of LA had
taken over the plot through eminent domain in the early 1990s. As part
of the healing after the riots sparked by the Rodney King incident LA
had given the plot to the community for a community garden that was
organized by the food bank about half a block away. This had worked
great until sometime in the Hahn administration, when some back room
deal had been made to sell it back to the guy it had been taken from.
At that point the food bank had bowed out, but the community had kept
it going out of sheer need for the food. Now it looks like the Los
Angeles County Sheriff would be coming along soon to evict everyone.
The guy in the brown sweatshirt was introduced as "our doctor". He
explained that every breath is a microcosm of the life cycle. Every
inhale is a creation, and every exhale is another end of life.
The woman in the green army coat explained that there would be a
benefit on the farm in the evening for the
, which is the
latest chapter in the struggle of the indigenous of Chiapas for their
political rights. Apparently the Mexican Government has been
stonewalling them for years now, and it is up to efforts like this one
to spread the word that something needs to be done. Her words connected
our struggle to keep the farm growing food with the struggle for
indigenous rights south of the border.
After the meeting I got everybody else
to pose for a group shot.
Somebody explained that every evening
they have a candle light procession around the farm, and at the end of
it everybody puts their candle around the base of this walnut tree. It
was also the tree where Julia Butterfly Hill, John Quigley, and Daryl
Hannah were vigiling to save the farm. Each of those candles is
evidence that somebody else cares.