In a protest over 14 acres of community farmland in downtown Los Angeles being razed to put up a warehouse, Daryl Hannah went out on a limb, so to speak, and climbed a walnut tree and wouldn’t leave (no pun intended) until authorities cut away branches and wrenched her down in a cherry picker. “I’m very confident this is the morally right thing to do, to take a principled stand in solidarity with the farmers,” she said into her cell phone as a ladderful of firemen approached her through the branches. Over a period of 14 years, approximately 350 farmers have been working the land, growing produce and flowers, making it the largest urban farm in the country. The property’s owner, Ralph Horowitz, after much back-and-forth with the farmers, wants to reclaim the land, which is zoned for factories, to build a warehouse. Recently, celebrities have taken up the cause, as they are wont to do, squatting in trees, chaining themselves to barrels of concrete, sitting on train tracks, and generally causing a nuisance and attracting helmeted police. Fourteen people have been arrested.
Horowitz [had] offered to sell 10 acres of the land for $16.3 million to a trust set up on behalf of the farmers. The group failed to raise the money before the purchase option expired May 22, and Horowitz got the eviction order. Horowitz said he intends to find tenants for the land and will not sell it to any gardeners or their supporters. “This one they’re not getting,” he said.