On Thursday evening over 200 supporters of parks and green space gathered at the stunning and historic Yust garden in Hancock Park for the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust’s annual fundraiser. The Tuscan-style villa was restored by the Yust and has been widely published. The garden was featured on the Garden Conservancy of America’s Open Days Tour in 2010 and has also been widely published. In 2002, the garden was documented by the Hancock Park Garden Club for submission to the Smithsonian Archive American Gardens.
The Yust garden was a perfect setting for the celebration attended by architects, landscape architects, designers and park advocates. We chatted with guests Mia Lehrer of Studio-MLA, a prominent advocate for parks and green space whose office donated design services for the renovation of the front garden at Fire Station 29 in Windsor Square; John Welborne, publisher of the Larchmont Chronicle; Julie Grist, founder of the Larchmont Buzz and president of the Hancock Park Garden Club; and Judy Kirshner Gilbert, member of the Hancock Park Garden Club and philanthropist who has helped secure grants for several Neighborhood Land Trust gardens.
We caught up with Julie Stromberg, of Windsor Village, who was on her way to the Greater Wilshire’s Neighborhood Council’s Garden Tour this morning. Stromberg who among other volunteer activities also serves on the Land Trust’s garden party committee told the Buzz she contacted the Yusts through their daughter Allegra, Stromberg’s former neighbor. The Yusts have generously opened their garden for many events over the years.
Stromberg, who served as the chair of the restoration of Windsor Village’s Harold Henry Park and continues to serve as a steward of the park, sees first hand the benefits of a local park and strongly believes that every community should have a park.
“It’s a shame, Los Angeles is such a park poor city, parks are the nexus of a community,” said Stromberg, whose husband Winston serves on the Land Trust’s board. “I am committed to doing whatever I can to help the Land Trust create more parks in the city so everyone has access to green space.”
Founded in 2002 to address Los Angeles’s park inequities, the Land Trust has added 13 acres of accessible green space by helping to create 27 urban parks and community gardens in communities of color that have little to no access to green space using a community development model engages residents from the beginning of the design process, through construction and ultimately the stewardship of the parks and gardens they create.
Los Angeles currently ranks 74th out of the 98 largest cities in the country for the number of people living within a 1/2 mile of a park. While there is a significant lack of green and recreational space throughout Los Angeles, low-income communities of color fare much worse. A 2016 countywide analysis of green space found that communities with very high or high park need were 90% predominately communities of color.
This year’s event honored California State Senator Holly Mitchell for her efforts to direct state funds to elementary and college students, the health-care systems and long-neglected programs to assist infants, the elderly, youth and working families. Carl Cade, West Coast Head at Tribune Real Estate Holdings who previously served as Board Chair of the LA Neighborhood Land Trust and the Westside Urban Forum, and is currently an active board member of the Central City Association, the Downtown Center Business Improvement District, and Larchmont Charter School was also honored. Zully Flores an advocate and organizer at the Neighborhood Land Trust’s Marson Park in Panorama City was awarded the Land Trust’s 2019 Community Advocate Award. And, students from the 2019 cohort of the Neighborhood Land Trust’s Gardening Apprenticeship Program (GAP), a year-long environmental stewardship and urban agriculture leadership development initiative that takes place at the Fremont Wellness Center and Community Garden located at John C. Fremont High School in South LA, were recognized.