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‘Microfarms’ come to South L.A. front yards, bringing fresh produce to food deserts

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Jamiah Hargins, founder of Crop Swap LA and the urban gardener behind the Asante Microfarm.(Antonio M. Johnson/For the Times)

On the appointed day, 15 people — from all backgrounds and walks of life but mostly from West Adams — showed up at his home ready to exchange artichokes, kale, and onions from their own gardens for Hargins’ lemons, herbs, and beans.

By Donovan X. Ramsey
LA Times
May 13, 2021


The Asante Microfarm is not a vegetable garden for private use, a large urban farm or community garden for a small group of green thumbs. Rather, Hargins has designed an urban farm just big enough to fit in a front yard, real estate most people use for decoration.

Hargins wants to empower underserved communities while giving them access to fresh food by planting small, sustainable farms in lots across L.A.

“Everybody is entitled to the nutrients beneath their feet. That applies to people in apartment buildings, or condos,” he said. “They have the right to have local food. Folks can have a different life. I’m hoping to show that it can be done.”

For Hargins, the microfarm, built on a residential frontyard on the 4600 block of Angeles Vista Boulevard, is a proof of concept for a much larger goal.

The crops grow from nutrient-rich sacks of compost and the whole farm is supported by an irrigation system that not only recycles water but uses just 8% of the water previously used for grass. The farm was built using part of a $50,000 LA2050 grant from the Goldhirsh Foundation but will be sustained by subscriptions that cost $36 per month and $43 with delivery. For that, subscribers get a 3-pound mix of greens and vegetables every week.

Read the complete article here.


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