Tucked between two modest homes, and not 500 feet from the LA River, sits Jardin del Rio Community Garden, a serene oasis of greenery and community. With its 28 plots, Jardin del Rio is a refuge for many older local residents, and a crucial source of food for families and children. But before it was a treasure, this small parcel of city-owned land was a blight on the neighborhood.

In the 60’s and 70’s, the lot had been a popular playground, but slowly devolved into a magnet for illegal dumping, drug dealing and gang activity. “The playground equipment moved out, and a bad element moved in,” says garden founder David De La Torre. Neighbors were scared and desperate for action, and as a longtime resident, David took it upon himself to make a change. 

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