Explore the History of Los Angeles’ Agriculture In New Multi-Platform Food Series LA FOODWAYS, Premiering Feb 6 on KCET.

Presenting Surprising Solutions to Current Challenges, New KCET Original Documentary Showcases How Food Is at the Intersection of History.

Streaming on kcet.org/lafoodways

Also available on YouTube, Amazon, Roku and Apple TV.

KCET, a content channel of the newly formed PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA announced the new multi-platform documentary series LA FOODWAYS, which examines the history of food in Los Angeles.

The series – comprised of a one-hour documentary, six digital episodes, and digital editorial stories – examines the storied agricultural history of Los Angeles to understand present food waste challenges and opportunities to bring fresh foods to urban communities. LA FOODWAYS aired February 6 at 8 p.m. on KCET in Southern California, and the six digital episodes can be streamed on kcet.org/lafoodways.

From the importance of orange crops in the 19th century to the massive scale of food waste in the U.S., the series is a deep dive into the different manners in which local organizations are coming together to ensure the future of agriculture in the region in order to identify environmentally friendly solutions for the future.

The digital episodes are detailed as follows:

Episode 1: “From Farm to Freeway” 

Los Angeles was once the largest farming community in the US. It is now home to the largest population of people dealing with food scarcity and hunger. Through interviews with historians, a 94-year-old farmer and a first-person narrative from a fifth-generation farming family in Lakewood, the episode goes back in time to reimagine the landscape of Los Angeles. 

Episode 2: “King Citrus and the Selling of the California Dream” 

The citrus industry started in Los Angeles in the 1870s and by 1900 it became one of the largest industries in the state. With images of manicured trees filled with golden fruit, snow-capped mountains and a better life, along with its year-round magical climate, the selling of the “California Dream” went a long way toward altering the landscape from farms, to the city, to meet an ever-expanding population that occurred directly after World War II. 

Episode 3: “The Paving of Paradise” 

After World War II, developers came into what was the biggest farm town in the nation and forever changed it. This created new issues, as people and vegetables competed for space. As the population grew, what was ultimately most attractive to new residents was real estate and “the selling of front lawn” resulting in much of the farmland now covered over by concrete used to make way for housing and industrial interests. 

Episode 4: “Food Waste: The Facts of Life” 

The Central Wholesale Produce Market: Founded in 1898” 

A century-old Los Angeles institution, the Whole Produce Market, was created to help the farmers get their produce to market and still thrives today. Today, the market responds to the food crisis by contributing food that would otherwise be thrown into landfill. 

Episode 5: “Watts Action” 

At a 52-year old community center called the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), stories from early residents reveal what Watts was like when it was all farmland. The episode explores the founding of the organization through the efforts of an extraordinary man named Ted Watkins and the legacy his son carries on based on his father’s vision to offer healthy food choices for the many residents through an agricultural center and farm that would feed the community. 

Episode 6: “Los Angeles, Garden Paradise”
Various efforts at urban homesteading across the city are being attempted to solve the food crisis. Rick Nahmias, the founder of Food Forward, explains how he was inspired to create a program that makes food available for those who are hungry using trees from an agricultural past, which informs the present and seeds future possibility. The city’s agricultural past is being galvanized today to feed the millions of hungry people who live in the community. Though the challenges are many, the future depends on an understanding of the past and affects decisions made going forward. 

Join the conversation on social media using #LAFoodways