Prior to the establishment of The Growing Experience, the site was unattended, littered with debris, shopping carts and overgrown weeds; the land required significant maintenance to keep it from being over-run by vandals, and homeless persons. The land on which The Growing Experience sits, is divided into two parcels, an approximately four-acre farm and approximately a three-acre community garden, which are connected by the Carmelitos Senior Rose Garden.
In 1996, Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA) developed a vision to utilize the vacant parcel of land, transforming it into a community garden. The garden installation included a fruit tree orchard, greenhouse, amphitheater area, sitting benches, a drought tolerant landscape with walking path, and 60 raised garden beds.
In 1998, HACoLA was granted funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through an Economic Development Initiatives Grant to construct an office and training facility on the farm side of the property. Landscape and nursery training programs were developed and offered for residents of Carmelitos to get hands-on skill training which they could then utilize to seek employment.
By 2008 the training programs ended, and the larger parcel of land was transitioned into the thriving farm it is today, producing fruits, vegetables, and herbs for the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and farm stand.