Alexander Westerman

Introduction

Urban Farming at Wattles Community Garden

Urban Farming at Wattles Community Garden

Wattles Farm started in 1975, is one of the oldest surviving community gardens in the City of Los Angeles. It was among the first gardens that started under then Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s initiative to use public lands for community gardening. The initiative had been inspired by the victory gardens of World War I and World War II.

Wattles Farm History

The garden is part of Wattles Park (Mansion & Gardens), a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. There are avocado trees and eucalyptus trees on site that are over 100 years old. Wattles Farm is home to a community of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, mainly the Ukraine and Georgia, who make up the majority of the garden’s current members. These members greatly influence the culture of the garden and what is grown there (tomatoes, cucumbers, and dill in the summer, beets, and greens in the winter).

Community Garden Details

Wattles Farm is 4.2 acres. It presently has 172 garden plots (approximately 15- by-15 feet each) tended by 300 community members. Two fruit groves maintained and shared by all the farm members. The first one is the Herschel Gilbert Avocado Grove, which measures at about 1.43 acres and has over 150 avocado trees. It is the only remaining avocado grove of that size in the city of Los Angeles. There is a citrus grove along the northern side of the garden that measures at 2,600 square feet. There is an herb garden, a cactus garden, a memorial garden (consisting of a variety of fruit trees, a grape arbor, and flowers), an experimental garden (composed of various heirloom vegetable plants), and two small-scale vineyards. There is a greenhouse, multiple tool sheds, and a picnic area. The garden is thriving, and most of its elements are in good physical condition. Before 1975, the 4.2 acres (i.e., the lower park) comprised the avocado and fruit orchard of the 50-acre Wattles Park (Mansion and Gardens).

Wattles Farm during the early years

The Wattles Farm during the early years required a lot of work due to the neglect of the preceding years. The original gardeners cleared dense brush and weeds, tilled the soil, installed a planned plot area and irrigation system. They also resuscitated the many avocado trees on the site. Within a year, most of the preliminary work on the garden finished, and the first 30 plots created. The remaining elements of the Wattles Farm developed over the next 15 years.

Today at the farm

Today we have some 300 members in 172 plots within our community garden.  Through the healthy effort and generous spirit of all of us working together, we continue to grow and thrive. Amazingly there are a few of the founding and original members of the garden that are actively involved both in gardening and being mentors to new farmers.

Urban Farm Gallery

Videos of Wattles Farm Community Garden

Video by – Alexander Westerman | © 2020
Video by – Alexander Westerman | © 2020
Video by – Alexander Westerman | © 2020

Location and Directions to Wattles Farm

  • The garden is located on the south end of the Wattles Mansion Park.
  • The main entrance to the Wattles Farm Community Garden is 1⁄4 block north of Hollywood Boulevard on North Curson Avenue. The gate is locked at all times.
  • The garden is defined at its northern boundary by Wattles Mansion, at the west by North Curson Avenue, at the east by North Sierra Bonita Avenue, and at the south by Hollywood Boulevard.

Address for Wattles Farm

1714 N Curson Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046

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