In a remote part of the hills above La Cañada Flintridge, a landowner is fighting a lonely battle on whether small-scale commercial farming, practiced here since the late 1800s, still has a place.
William Johnson owns 67 acres along Angeles Crest Highway, where city limits abut National Forest land. He is fighting on two fronts for the right to maintain a tiny farming operation that includes a persimmon orchard and horses.
Johnson Ranch makes use of an additional 11 acres owned by Southern California Edison, land that Johnson claims the right to use. City officials dispute this, saying it cannot be farmed because it is zoned as open space. That’s a problem for Johnson, as much of his 475-tree persimmon grove is planted there.