KQED Premieres Garden Documentary

Friday July 25, 2003

A documentary about the construction of Berkeley’s Peralta Community Garden and the community organizer behind it will make its television debut Sunday at noon on KQED, Channel 9. 

“A Lot in Common,” a 56-minute film, begins in 1997 when the North Berkeley garden was just an overgrown patch of dirt owned by BART. The documentary builds slowly, tracing a core group of community activists who survive city politics, a brouhaha over a bunny rabbit and a friend’s battle with cancer to build the garden. 

At the center of the story is Karl Linn, an 80-year-old Jewish psychologist and landscape architect who escaped Nazi Germany as a child and has spent decades building community gardens around the United States. 

“All I’m doing to contribute to the growth of community among people has to do with my experiences with racism,” Linn told the Daily Planet in April. 

The film includes interviews with PBS reporter Ray Suarez, urban planner Jane Jacobs and British scholar David Crouch, among others, to lend it context. 

A 76-minute version of the film screened May 1 at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian-Universalists. But Sunday’s showing will be the first on television. 

Producer-director Rick Bacigalupi said he is pleased to see the documentary air after seven years of planning, filming and editing. 

“It’s very exciting that this important story will reach a wide audience,” he said. “I hope people will enjoy it.”