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The Campaign To Save Compton Community Garden Is Succeeding

Several garden plots with plants and flowers, with a home and fence in the background.
Garden plots at the Compton Community Garden.
(Courtesy of Dr. Sheridan Ross)
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A campaign to save the beloved Compton Community Garden has borne fruit, so to speak.

Last month, a “for sale” sign went up at the beloved community garden at 1317 S.Long Beach Boulevard, which has fed local residents for a decade.

The Campaign To Save Compton Community Garden Has Succeeded

“When the community saw the sign up, there was a big uproar …‘cause they didn't want a developer coming in and putting up another apartment building there,” said community garden founder Sheridan Ross.

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So garden organizers decided they’d raise the money to buy it themselves.

They started a GoFundMe page, “and in 12 days we raised close to $488,000,” Ross said — enough to match the asking price, as well as a bid that had already come in. Altogether, Ross said they raised $500,000.

Realty Group Advisors, which represents the land’s private owner, confirmed to LAist that the property is now in escrow. While the sale is not yet final, “it is moving forward,” said Realty Group’s Lenin Garcia.

It typically takes 30 to 40 days for escrow to close in California. The garden’s organizers said a local land trust is helping them manage the acquisition.

Preserving the community garden, which organizers say can help feed up to 100 families a week, is a major victory for food access in Compton, where fresh produce options are scarce.

“The only grocery store that was in the general area closed down about two years ago,” said Ross, a retired neurosurgeon and longtime Compton resident. “So most of the people in the garden area, they get their vegetables and everything from either the liquor stores or the 99-cent store.”

The garden presently has 63 garden beds, with families growing everything from tomatoes and cucumbers to bananas, he said.

Ross said the garden received an outpouring of support when it launched its fundraising campaign, with donations coming in from all over the country.

He said he’s looking forward to continuing to help local residents put fresh produce on their tables.

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“We want it to be an example of what can happen with any vacant lots in any municipality,” he said. “That was the goal from the beginning. You can take a vacant lot anywhere and turn it into a community garden and use it to raise food for the community.”

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