Experts to Discuss Economy of the Garden During Second Conversation Series Event at Rancho Los Alamitos


Photo courtesy of Rancho Los Alamitos.

“When I think of home I think of the garden,” wrote Frederick Bixby Jr. to his mother Florence at Rancho Los Alamitos in 1928.

That identification of garden and home is true for many Southern Californians, but drought, land use regulations, rapid urbanization and labor may raise many questions and change how we think about the garden landscape in regards to our own homes and immediate communities.

“A walk in the garden seems like such a simple, uncomplicated pleasure, but true gardeners, wannabes, and the rest of us, know that in between all those annuals and perennials, succulents and cacti, fruits, herbs and vegetables, including all the native and newcomers, so much more has been planted," said Conversations co-moderator and founder Claudia Jurmain in a statement. 

According to a Rancho Los Alamitos release, the second of four Conversations in Place for 2015, entitled Planting Perspectives, will consider the interplay of economics, power and prestige, inequality, access and opportunity, and changing cultural and natural values in the landscapes of Southern California. This consideration will evaluate such interplay in private backyards, grand estates, public places, and the kitchen gardens of marginalized immigrants.

On Sunday, September 27 join The Conversation, to be moderated by Jurmain and joined by James P. Folsom, the Telleen/Jorgensen Director of the famed 120-acre Huntington Botanical Gardens. An award-winning scholar with international field experience, Folsom was central to establishing the Huntington as a national leader in botanical research and education.

He will be joined in conversation by Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Professor of Sociology at USC and Associate Director at the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. Her recent book, Paradise Transplanted: Migration and the Making of California Gardens, explores how regional gardens came to be a reflection of the world’s people and plants, as well as a mirror of social power, status, and beauty.

Also speaking will be Laura Pulido, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC, whose research focuses on race, environmental justice, Chicana/o Studies, critical human geography, and Los Angeles. Among her many publications is A People’s Guide to Los Angeles.

The final panelist will be Karen Quintiliani, Chairman of the Department of Anthropology, California State University, Long Beach, and co-founder of the Cambodian Community History and Archive Project. The collaborative Project documents the historical ethnography and contributions of the Cambodians in Long Beach, the largest community outside Southeast Asia.

"The Conversations in Place series is such a provocative, lively opportunity to meet, learn, and talk with world-class thinkers and doers who are helping protect the best, and remake the worst, of the urban-scape we live in for tomorrow," Jurmain told the Post. "Gardens are home to science, economics, power, and inequality, but also access and opportunity over time, including community gardens today which can offer a reminder of home for marginalized people from around the world."    

Now in its fourth year, Conversations in Place 2015 will present two more explorations of how places are made at Rancho Los Alamitos. The series will continue through Sunday, November 8.

Tickets for the Sunday, September 27 Conversations in Place are $25 each. Tickets may be purchased online here or by calling Rancho Los Alamitos at 562.431.3541, located at 6400 East Bixby Hill Road.

The Conversations in Place 2015 series is supported by IMPRINT Culture Lab, Michael F. Sfregola and Robert & Marjorie Rivera.

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