From Cows to Concrete

From Cows to Concrete

The Rise and Fall of Farming in Los Angeles

by Rachel Surls and Judith Gerber

What? Los Angeles was the original wine country of California, leading the state’s wine production for more than a century? Los Angeles County was the agricultural center of North America until the 1950s? And where today’s freeways soar, cows calmly chewed their cud? How could that be? Los Angeles, the capital of asphalt and Kleig lights, was once a paradise filled with grapevines and bovines, so abundant with Nature’s gifts that no one could imagine a more pastoral place?

Los Angeles County was the center of an agricultural empire. Today, it is the nation’s most populous urban metropolis. What happened? Where did the green go?

From the earliest pueblo cornfields to the struggles of farm workers to the rise of the environmental movement, From Cows to Concrete tells the epic tale of how agriculture forged Los Angeles into an urban metropolis, and how, ultimately, the Los Angeles farm empire spurred the very growth that paved it over, as sprawling suburbs swallowed up thousands of acres of prime farmland. And how, on the same land once squandered by corporate greed and “progress,” urban farmers are making inroads to a greener future. More than 150 vintage images enhance and expand the fascinating, detailed history.

As Americans connect with gardens, farmers markets, and urban farms, most are unaware that each of these activities have deep roots in Los Angeles, and that the healthy food they savor literally had its roots in L.A. This book is for all who treasure the country’s agrarian history.

  • 208 pages
  • full color throughout
  • 150+ images
  • 9w"x9h"
  • hardcover; ISBN 978-1-62640-031-3; $40.00
$40.00 USD