San Pedro community gardeners struggle with reduced water supply

Monday, July 30, 2018

SAN PEDRO, LOS ANGELES -- San Pedro resident Sal La Grande tends to his grapevines, which are dried out due to lack of water.

He is one of nearly 300 people who work small plots near the 110 Freeway in San Pedro.

The garden is believed to be the oldest in Los Angeles, started by Filipino seafarers in the 1960s.

La Grande has been working his land for seven years - just like his father did 45 years ago.

For a half-century, gardeners have worked this land and fed their friends and families with its harvest.

The land is owned by the Los Angeles Department of Sanitation.

For decades gardeners tapped into the water line of the sanitation department.

But three years ago, the mayor asked every city agency to cut water consumption by 20 percent.

Sanitation managers quickly cut off the more than 300,000 gallons of water the garden was siphoning.

Now the garden gets access to water for a few hours twice a week.

Many have quit the garden because of the lack of water.

Those who remain stockpile water in containers to keep their crops alive.

Soon the city could start charging for water, which may force out more gardeners.