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'Edible walls' green up downtown L.A.

August 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Friday the non-profit Urban Farming Project dedicated four "food-producing walls" in Downtown L.A. Organizers say downtown real estate is at a premium. But they have plenty of wall space. One of the so-called "edible" green walls can be found at the Weingart Center.The wall is set up and ready to go. It has a very efficient drip system, so it's not wasting any water. One thing that was stressed Friday, since there are a lot of buildings downtown: If you've got the wall space, there's no reason why you can't grow food.

The Vertical Garden will provide the 500 residents of the Weingart Center with fresh fruits and vegetables.

The non-profit group Urban Farming helped put this up. It's about six feet tall, about 30 feet wide. It's the first major step in turning a patio area into green space.

With the help of celebrities like comedian Richard Lewis and actor Ed Begley Jr., they helped get the resources to make this happen.

"Until the government can provide a little more for those that can't help themselves, we're going to do it ourselves," said Richard Lewis. "If we don't have bread, voila -- we have edible walls. It's a beautiful thing.

Four of these urban gardens were set up in the area, including the Miguel Contreras Learning Center, The Rainbow Apartments, and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

The garden is designed to ease hunger in the city.

"Nearly one million people in Los Angeles County are at risk of hunger, some time during the year," said Darren Huffman, L.A. Regional Food Bank. "Our resources right now, with food prices going up, fuel prices going up, we're seeing a big deficit at the food bank, and that means there is less food for those people in need."

There are cucumbers, strawberries, lavender squash, tomatoes, tomatillos, a number of fruits and vegetables that can be and are grown in this setup.

 

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