Neighborhood Tour: Revolutionary Rose Avenue

by Erin Harris

You may think that Venice’s Rose Avenue is just the latest example of glam-hippie-style gentrification … and you’d be right. Much like Abbot Kinney before it, the formerly gritty street leading to the beach is undergoing a transformation; it’s now home to destination eateries like Superba Snack Bar and Café Gratitude, a renowned wine shop, one of those fancy flagship Whole Foods stores, and the kind of boutique shops that invite you to linger.

But there’s a little more going on over there. You see, some well heeled bohemians know that there’s more to life than just biodynamic wines and handmade feather earrings; at least that’s what I discovered when I poked my nose behind the rustic storefront of Matt Winter’s interior design studio at 542 Rose Avenue and discovered a garden planting in progress. Volunteer Finian Makepeace filled me in on the Venice Victory Gardens project, a local “biological farming” effort to restore carbon to the planet’s topsoil, thereby growing healthier crops. The garden I stumbled upon is a bit of a practice run for the organization: its yield will supply nearby restaurants like Café Gratitude and Oscar’s Cerveteca, meanwhile generating publicity for the cause as they prepare to expand to larger garden spaces.

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June 17, 2013

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