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LA still trying to uproot edible landscapes

LA Times:

"If you go to Brentwood," said Nishida, "do you think those people have permits" for their overgrown rosebushes, bougainvillea and other plants on parkway strips?

But try growing vegetables on the parkway strip in South Los Angeles -- and then sharing them with your neighbors! The city sends in its goons.

The city's restrictions aren't entirely without merit, said Clare Fox of the L.A. Food Policy Council. She can understand the need to restrict growth that hinders the view of drivers or blocks the light of street lamps. But she's been trying to help city officials arrive at a compromise allowing for reasonable edible gardening without huge permit fees that currently begin at $400.

"The city has an amazing opportunity," she said, given the thousands of miles of parkway strips that are wasted on grass, scrub, rocks or pavement, in a city with vast "food deserts."

Ed Johnson, [Councilman Herb Wesson]'s assistant chief deputy, told me "it's going to take a while longer" to work out a deal on Wesson's "edible landscape" motion, which then has to go to the Board of Public Works and the city attorney.

As for parkway strips, Johnson said, one of the city's concerns is liability.

"If you slip and trip on the eggplant," he said, "you can sue the city."

Last time I checked, Los Angeles had 5,000 miles of ruptured sidewalks — some of which look like mountain ranges — caused primarily by invasive roots on unmaintained parkway trees planted by the city.

Eggplant, it seems to me, is the least of our worries.

Yep. If the food chain has problems, Brentwood will have the caviar flown in. But poor people will still have to eat. Why can't they grow their own food, and make the city beautiful, too?

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