Great News! Learning Garden Agreement Signed!

This vacant lot will soon become the White House Place Learning Garden

On January 20th 2011, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Beverly Vermont Community Land Trust (BVCLT) signed the joint use agreement that enables a new learning garden at Los Angeles Eco-Village! The site is the currently-vacant lot at the north east corner of the intersection of Bimini Place and White House Place.

That corner was formerly occupied by a fourplex apartment building, where founder Lois Arkin lived during the early years of Los Angeles Eco-Village (LAEV.) During the 1990’s eco-villagers, including Mary Maverick, gardened the front and back yards, including gardening programs involving youth attending the then-adjacent White House Place Primary Center (WHPPC.)

In a effort to provide more school facilities, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) closed WHPPC, with plans to convert the site to parking for school expansion on the north side of First Street. Eco-Village and our allies initially advocated for the corner housing to be preserved… we lost. Then we pushed for the entire corner site not to be converted to parking. With an alternative site plan in hand, we pushed for modification to the initial parking lot designs. In 2009, the LAUSD relented, built their parking more-or-less according to our alternative design, and entered into negotiations for the new joint use agreement. With the signing of the Joint-Use Agreement, we hope for more harmonious relations between LAEV and LAUSD.

There are a number of steps that need to take place prior to the new learning garden opening. These include handicapped access, entry gates, some terracing… but soon, local schools and the community will have a garden at the site. Here’s the rough schematic design agreed to by the BVCLT and LAUSD:

White House Place Leaning Garden design - by Ian MacIlvane of Tierra Sol y Mar

The garden actually has its own tumbler blog – which also announced the good news today.

4 thoughts on “Great News! Learning Garden Agreement Signed!

  1. Esfandiar Abbassi, an initial co-founder of L.A. Eco-Village along with Mary Maverick and others, was an essential energy and visionary for the early White House Place gardens back in the early 1990s. At that time there was a K-2 school on the site where the new parking lot is now, and Esfandiar took on the persona of Mr. Plant, bringing children to the gardens daily to play and learn. Mary Maverick continued this work with children in the White House Place gardens when Esfandiar returned to Iran in 1994. Mary lived briefly in LAEV before departing for the north where she taught yoga and lived in a spiritual intentional community. Esfandiar was absent for 9 years, but then returned to become an LAEV member with his wife Homeyra for several years, before once again returning to Iran. We miss them all, and hope someday to be celebrating the garden all together again.

  2. Pingback: Intersection Mural Version 3.0 « L.A. Eco-Village Blog

  3. My heart sank and tears filled my eyes the day I saw heavy machinery on the land where I’d thought Lois and the LAEV would always be. I truly hope the adults and children of the LAUSD appreciate what was sacrificed; and, I am grateful that their education also will include a community garden. Oh, the poems it will inspire! Food will taste better, nutrition will improve, and, perhaps, patience will, too. May the LAEV and Learning Garden live forever.
    Lois is quick to share the glory, but there’s no doubt in my mind her leadership and pragmatism (and so much more) has earned her perpetual recognition.

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