Issue Analysis: The Garden

1.Identify the issue?

The issue in the documentary The Garden, revolves around a primarily social justice issue. It also encompasses social, political and environmental issues. The “South Central Gardeners” are furious over the owner Ralph Horwitz selling his 41 acre farm and that the gardeners must be evicted, when their lifestyle depends on the garden that was allowed for them to use. This issue caused the farmers to seek and fail to obtain proper justice for them selves as many of them depend on the garden for survival and food. The social injustice the Latino farmers received is the main issue and it is even said that when they came to this country the last words they recited were “justice for all” but they say, “What is the justice for the poor people.”

2.What do you currently know about the issue?

What I currently know about the issue is after the 1992 L.A riots that were caused after the severe beating of an African American man named Rodney King several intense riots took place throughout the area of South Central L.A. After the intense riots a 14 acre empty land plot at 41st and Alamenda in L.A was created into a community garden to bring everyone back together. Years later the owner Ralph Horwitz wanted to sell the garden he bought for roughly $5 million for $16.3 million that he provided many of the community to garden and farm on. The community consisted of 73% Latino’s, 9% African American and 18% other nationalities. The gardeners were told to evacuate the premises of the gardens within a set number of days and after several attempts to raise the money and looked for political support their efforts failed and the garden was bulldozed which was the gardeners worst fear and they were forced out on the streets. The South Central Gardeners were forced to move outside of South Central to a new location of an 80-acre estate of land purchased with the 16 million raised and donated by the Adamburg Foundation.

3. Define the Scope of the Issue.

The scope of the issue is the stakeholders of the issue mainly the South Central Gardeners are not empowered enough to receive the justice they truly they deserve. They are immigrants who strive of the farm land to live and support for themselves and feed themselves to live. It provides them with a way to keep off the streets and a sort of income. Without the land to garden on they would be forced to live on the streets, sleep on in their cars and sleeping bags. The lack of empowerment leads them for their voices not be only heard but not acted with but rather against because they can be taken advantage of. It relates to the countless land issues people face even that of Native Indians in which their limited power as people is diminished by the government, political forces and or other people all in it for their personal gains.

5.Conduct research to add to your knowledge.

  • Not all the money for the initial soccer field was used. Only about $5000 out of the $4 million was used.
  • Horwitz was not even willing to sell the farm even for $100million because he was against what the gardeners were doing  and he was made out as a villain which shows there was a false hope all along.
  • The gardeners raised the $16.3 million needed and raised a surprisingly $490,000 is 6 days by themselves without the aid of the Adamburg Foundation.
  • Were given 7 acre by the City of L.A as compensation to their loses.
  • Horwitz did positive deed by buying the land for the original wonder and prevented a garbage incinerator to be built.

6.Organize your information.

Stakeholder Social Issues Political Issue Economic Issue Environmental Issue
South Central Gardeners Want to sustain the garden to provide themselves with food and lifestyle and not end up on the streets Seek the political help from City Council in order for them to help retain the community garden. No support from the government

No sufficient income from farm to help economically.

Helps clean air and keeps land durable and creates a more “green” environment. Organic growth.
General Community

& Concerned Citizens of South Central L.A

Wants the construction of more soccer fields for the children and community to have access to for recreational purposes Want the political attention to create the soccer fields. N/A

Not enough needs or causes to make it a economic issue when the community raised more then enough money for the field

Would cause minimal damage to the land that can be reversible and treated with care
Ralph Horwitz Wants to receive a large sum of profit for his land at more then triple the amount he bought it Will not come to terms with an agreement and never does and seem to disagree with the gardeners N/A Wants to harm the beautiful land by selling it for it to become industrialized
Dan Sotmer Civil Rights Lawyer intended to help the South Central Gardner’s to maintain the land that he feels should rightfully remain with him either by receiving political assistance or receiving the funds to buy it from Mr. Horwitz Is not empowered enough alongside the gardeners to make a significant impact on the City Council or the Mayor of L.A to get more political power behind him to help support the gardeners. N/A Helping conserve a land that many activist and tree huggers alike want to protect and should be kept as a community garden to keep the lifestyle of hundreds alive and off the streets.

7. Analyze the Information.

After analyzing the information it is evident that everyone single stakeholder whether it they be major or minimal they all wanted the farm for their personal gain and when so many stakeholders aim for a different goal a consensus can never be reached and those who are not empowered such as the gardeners they got the short end of  the stick and lost their “holy land” but in the end receive a much larger piece of land and it seems in a different prospective it worked out for everyone. The gardeners got new land, Horwitz sold his land for the amount he wanted and the politicians remained unharmed significantly, the only to suffer was the environment of the garden site. Even in the end it shows that those poor people can not find City Council it is hard for a group of passionate people with a great foundation to fight those who are given power.


In conclusion it seems that nothing seemed to work out in the favour of the South Central gardeners and that everything they fought for with their blood, sweat and tears was tarnished in minutes with the bull dozer and their hearts broken as to them their church or temple was torn down in front of their eyes. Even after two years Horwitz revived his payment and his landsite remained empty with nothing there when he should have taken the gardeners offer when they received the deal Horwitz originally agreed to. It shows the people can be very mischievous and untrustable and their are many factors to every single issue in this world that are all interconnected through social, political, economical and environmental issues. In the end the gardeners received 7 acre’s on behalf of  L.A and then bought a massive 80 acre farm they should be grateful they could purchase a much larger space even after the hardships they had to endure and I believe in the long run that was better because they were on private land. They should have noticed that everyone in America seeks profit even Ralph Horwitz did and the City and lawyers can not always fight every issue. The sad part of the entire thing is the riots brought on the community garden and another even if smaller riot made the garden close down and in a  sense everything fought for gone to waste.