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Less Crime, More Garlic: Gardening Trend Hits Arts District

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Gritty and industrial and sometimes a little shady typifies the Arts District neighborhood that’s home to the Biscuit Company and Toy Lofts buildings; sweet cucumbers and garlic, less so. But check out the greenery underway: A few weeks ago, residents in both buildings started a small community garden in the area behind the Biscuit Lofts’ pool on Industrial Street. Residents asked Linear City partner Yuval Bar-Zemer, one of the buildings' developer, for space for a garden; turns out, he's a gardener himself. "We just started it," says Biscuit Lofts resident Ellen Abramson. "I kept saying, Yuval, please we need a community garden, I kept asking, where’s the community garden going to be?” Throw in the The Flats rooftop garden and those great Chinese street gardens, and we smell a downtown green trend.

At one point, a children's playground was planned for the area, but it was canceled, according to Abramson, which helped get the garden going. The gardening group is made up of more than a dozen members. They helped pay for the wooden crates (Bar-Zemer had them built) and bought gardening tools. Each resident is responsible for watering their plot and chipping in a small fee for keeping up the area. They also Some of what’s growing so far: garlic, millionaire eggplant, sweet cucumber, mesclun, fennel, and more. Additionally, there’s a composting system, while the group plans to add citrus trees, and eventually fill out the space with more greenery.

Who knows the first thing about gardening? It's a community effort with neighbors sharing information about plants and seeds. "I know a little and some [other people] some know some things," says Abramson, who moved to the building from Santa Monica in 2006. And garlic growing=friendships. "A lot of these people I didn't know before we started this," she adds.
· Curbed Inside Outside: Touring Alexis Rochas' SYNTHe Rooftop Garden [Curbed LA]

Biscuit Lofts

1850 Industrial St., Los Angeles, CA