|City Council circa 1975-76 receiving a wheelbarrow of produce from the Community Gardens (including Mayor Jim Armstrong, Council members Katy Geissert and Dick Rossberg)|
Back in 2008, while researching my book on the history of Farming in Torrance and the South Bay, I came across an interesting file in the Community Services Department about the Community Gardens.
They began in January 1975, as an experimental project at the site of the old Standard Brands/Nishita Property, which became Columbia Park. There were 52 garden plots leased and by May 1975, 115 people were on the waiting list. By November 1975, there were about 450 people working 107 garden plots.
The success at Columbia led the City Council to approve the construction of the Lago Seco Park Community Garden in February 1976.
There were also some very interesting reasons (which are still relevant today) that City staff outlined to the Council for the need for the gardens. "What better way is there to cool the soaring inflation, improve nutrition, relieve the environment and provide leisure services while promoting vegetable gardening in general and Community Gardens in particular?"
Just shows that a good idea is timeless.