Last remaining Japanese-American farm on LA peninsula to shutter

Rancho Palos Verdes Council will reclaim land, honoring decades-old agreement with federal government

Los Angeles Weekend Edition /
Nov.November 27, 2021 06:30 AM
(iStock)

For decades prior to World War II, Los Angeles County’s Palos Verdes Peninsula was home to a thriving Japanese-American agricultural community. Only one such farm remains today, and it isn’t long for this world.

The Ranchos Palos Verdes City Council has voted to terminate the lease on Hatano Farm, a 5.5-acre cactus and flower farm that sits on city-owned land, according to the L.A. Daily News.

The termination stems from an agreement with the federal government in the 1970s that turned the land over to the city. The pact requires that the city convert the property for public recreation. Sensitive to the area’s history — notably, the fact that most of the farms in the area were wiped out when the families that ran them were sent to internment camps in the 1940s — the city has been slow to enforce the agreement, according to the Daily News.

Prior to World War II, an estimated 200 Japanese-American families operated farms on the peninsula. Many never returned after their release. The City Council’s decision means that the peninsula’s last remaining Japanese-American-founded farm will be no more.

Hatano Farm gets its name from its founder, James Hatano, who was not a farmer on the peninsula before the war. Instead, he arrived after the war, during which he served in the U.S. Army.

The land was originally owned by the Army, but was transferred to the new town of Rancho Palos Verdes in the 1970s as part of a wider government program to offload land to local municipalities.

The city wanted to keep Hatano Farm in operation, so it put off forcing out Hatano, who died in 2015.

The situation became more complicated when Hatano wanted to retire in the 2000s and hand over the farm to his protégé, Martin Martinez.

The city agreed to lease the farm to Martinez, but the National Parks Service caught wind of the situation and said it could take the property if the city failed to meet its obligations under the decades-old deal.

The city has yet to decide what to do with the property, but staff have recommended a handful of options, including turning it into a community garden, a native plant and seed nursery, a kitchen-to-garden operation or restoring the land to its natural habitat.

[LADN] — Dennis Lynch





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Record SoCal homes prices on tight supply
    Record SoCal homes prices on tight supply
    Record SoCal homes prices on tight supply
    26 city-owned parcels ID’d as potential sites for LA homeless shelters
(LA Office of the Controller)
    Controller points to 26 city-owned parcels for homeless shelters
    Controller points to 26 city-owned parcels for homeless shelters
    CenterPoint CEO Bob Chapman and an aerial of the property (Google Maps)
    CenterPoint continues SoCal spree in Signal Hill
    CenterPoint continues SoCal spree in Signal Hill
    Photo Illustration of Elon Musk (Getty)
    Musk could save $2B in California taxes on Texas move
    Musk could save $2B in California taxes on Texas move
    (iStock)
    LA is nation’s second least affordable housing market: report
    LA is nation’s second least affordable housing market: report
    The lawsuit alleges that the property manager was a serial sexual harasser, frequently making unwelcome advances and surprise visits to female tenants’ homes and offering rent discounts in exchange for sex (DOJ, Getty)
    Feds settle sexual harassment case with LA property manager, owner
    Feds settle sexual harassment case with LA property manager, owner
    Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec flips Hidden Hills mansion for $17M
    “Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec flips Hidden Hills mansion for $17M
    “Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec flips Hidden Hills mansion for $17M
    UCLA, USC survey: LA renters owe $3B in back rent
    UCLA, USC survey: LA renters owe $3B in back rent
    UCLA, USC survey: LA renters owe $3B in back rent
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...