A Garden in the Asphalt: Neighborhood children grow fruits and vegetables on side of roads in North University Park

Once-barren sidewalks and parkways in North University Park are now filled with wildflowers, herbs, fruit trees, vegetables, chili peppers and butterflies thanks to neighborhood children and Elizabeth Eve King.

Elizabeth Eve, "Evie," the arts and sciences director of non-profit group Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, started a garden with her students on the parkways of 23rd St. and Bonsallo Ave., according to Intersections South LA reporter Francesca Ayala. Evie teaches the children how to plant and care for the fruits of their labor.

“We’re learning about these new plants that we’ve never heard of,” said Irene Fernandez, 9. “They don’t teach it in school, but it isn’t so bad because we get to learn it here.”


After some residents were a little impatient and took some of the items in the garden early and some vandalism, students posted signs addressed to the culprits around the sidewalk in English and Spanish. The signs said, “If you will just let everything ripen, then you could eat it. We’d much rather you enjoyed it rather than destroyed it.”

Since the children put the signs up, no one has destroyed any of the plants, Ayala reports.

Evie, a University Park Family member who has studied botany and horticulture and worked on organic farms in Northern California, would like to turn all the parkways into urban gardens.

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