Farm Lot 59
Farm Lot 59 sits on a one-acre site surrounded by oil fields on land owned by the City of Long Beach. Created in 2010 by Sasha Kanno, Farm Lot 59 has historical ties to the city’s past: the property is one of the last remnants of 20-acre farm lots subdivided by the American Colony Tract in the late 1800s.
Kanno is the president of the non-profit organization Long Beach Local, which operates the farm where vegetables, fruits, nuts and flowers are grown without pesticides or chemicals. Hens perform double duty by keeping the pest population under control in addition to their egg-laying capabilities. Bee hives are kept for both pollination and honey production. On a weekly basis, restaurant scraps are picked up to help with compost production and soil management. The city also donates a large amount of compost to the farm through its community recycling program.
One challenge in developing the farm was its soil, which had elevated levels of arsenic. Much of the soil was replaced with sterile fill dirt that was donated by the city, and almost all of the planting is done in raised beds.
Having enough hands to get their products from farm to table has been another challenge. To help address this, Kanno operates a work-share program. Work-shares offset the cost of participants’ weekly food budget as well as getting the community actively involved in the growing of their food. The work-share program schedules one month in advance with a six-month commitment.
The Farm Lot 59 mission is to develop and maintain farmland in an urban setting to grow crops and offer the public fresh and healthy food choices. Currently, the community can purchase farm-produced products at Farmstand 59 once a month at Saturday Market Place mornings, where breakfast, coffee, reusable produce bags and other seasonal, local and handmade goods are also available.
Farm Lot 59 also provides opportunities for local residents to connect with the greater community by hosting events such as Harvest Dinners, raw food demos and compost tea-making classes.
Website: Long Beach Local