Eating Locally This Thanksgiving

Nov. 16, 2012 / By

When Jimmy Ng introduced the process of planting and growing food to elementary students in North Long Beach, he was dumbstruck when they could not answer the question of where a piece of fruit came from.

Ng works at The Growing Experience farm (TGE) near 52nd St. and Atlantic, a 7-acre urban farm at the Carmelitos Housing Project for low-income residents. The food grown at the farm is made available to the community through its agriculture program.

With fast food joints at every corner, many city-living people, both young and old, have become so far disconnected to the food they eat, especially in poorer neighborhoods like the one TGE is located in,

As Thanksgiving steadily approaches us, VoiceWaves would like to highlight some of the well-known and not-so-well known healthy, organic and local urban farms and gardens that exist in Long Beach.

Urban farms like TGE are making healthy living in low-income areas of Long Beach less of a hassle. TGE delivers, “subscriptions,” or shares of their organic produce to over 100 subscribers in a zip code that doesn’t even have a chain grocery store, let alone a distributor of organic fruits and vegetables.

Farm Lot 59 is another local organic farm, and the only independent urban farm in Long Beach.

Sasha Kanno opened the farm last year, and celebrated its anniversary this November by picking harlequin beetles off of her Bok-choy.  Seasonal bugs destroyed kannos pesticide-free crop, but her veggie stand is on track to opening this Saturday just in time for those celebrating Thanksgiving.

A 6th grade class volunteered at the farm Thursday afternoon, and Kanno and her 18 month old son led them through the furrows of vegetables and the mobile chicken coop. The children learned about garden pests, soil science, and were warned that later in the week, they would be spreading the manure.

Another small farm getting involved with schools and youth development is the Spring Street Farm. The Long Beach Community Action Partnership with the help of Boeing turned a small garden project called the Green Lab, into a 1.5 acre farming collaborative.

Last Summer, produce and eggs from the farm helped The Long Beach School District feed more than a hundred students a day. The California Educational Department is reviewing measurements gathered from the experiment.

While most grocery stores with organic foods like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are located in the Eastside and Bixby Knolls, community gardens are thriving all over the city. Some locally grown food sources are included on this interactive WikiMap, created using the helpful tools for public research at HealthyCity.org. However, every farm or garden might not be placed on this map– if there’s one know about but don’t see represented, please add it on this collaborative community map!

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Patrick Moreno

Patrick Moreno

Patrick Moreno is a graduate of the CSULB department of journalism. He wrote for the Daily 49er and spent more than a year with VoiceWaves reporting on the diverse communities of Long Beach. Originally from Ventura California, Moreno studied photography for 5 years before transferring to CSULB to work on his writing. At the heart of his work is Moreno's love for culture and the arts, but it is through factual and fair reporting that he hopes to transform his community into a place where people can express themselves and continue to thrive. Patrick is also a musician, artist and photographer, beach bum, and capoerista!