the farm's history
Farm Lot 59 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by Sasha Kanno. With the help of our founding board, residents, and the City of Long Beach the .6-acre farm was started. We are located on “historic lot number 59” in central Long Beach. The name “Farm Lot 59” makes a direct reference to Long Beach’s early agricultural past. In 1881, William Willmore agreed with J. Bixby & Co. to develop the American Colony, a 4,000-acre piece of the Rancho Los Cerritos. With a 350-acre townsite called Willmore City that would later become downtown Long Beach, the rest of the American Colony was made up of 20-acre farm lots. The farm lots were numbered 1 through 185. Willmore City and the American Colony were renamed Long Beach in 1884, but the farm lots remained until rapid urbanization subdivided them into home lots after the Pacific Electric Railway came to Long Beach in 1902. Because of its topography and role in the City’s municipal water infrastructure, Farm Lot 59 was never developed into a farm or home and remains owned by the City of Long Beach to this day. A unique remainder of the American Colony.
Farm Lot 59 was built on the remnants of an illegal dump. The abandoned parcel was cleaned up with help from the City of Long Beach and the soil was replaced with clean fill dirt. Once the rubbish was removed the first seeds were planted in Spring 2012.
Sasha and the community shared a vision to teach food and farming to the residents of Long Beach. They believed in the importance of knowing where your food comes from and access to fresh produce. From the very beginning, we were taught the importance of food production and the elimination of food miles. We pride ourselves on varietal choices picking only what grows best in our climate and passing on the knowledge of holistic farming principles.
Farm Lot is a proud advocate for local food policy and was a key instrument in the adoption of AB 551 and for modernizing our city’s outdated agriculture ordinance. We’ve worked together with many diverse organizations, representatives of local and regional governments, public agencies, other farmers, ranchers, and food businesses. Our collaborative work has changed local food access and production in Long Beach.
Our farm demonstrates a small-scale model of regenerative agriculture using current and best practices. We have a greenhouse and 2 USDA-funded high tunnel’s used for season extension. We believe that farming in the form of big agriculture is not the path to a healthy food system. We’re working to change the future of food by proving that vacant property can be transformed into a sustainable urban farmscape. When farming on a smaller scale one can take pride in the land and show diversity in one’s ecosystem and restore the soil to its healthier state. As a result of the way we appreciate and value the soil at the farm, we’re rewarded with vegetables, fruit, and flowers that we can share with the community. You can taste the difference in what the farm produces, not only because it was grown with care, but also because it was harvested from the earth which we nurtured.
Starting in March of 2020 Farm Lot 59 decided that due to the pandemic and ongoing needs of our community we would no longer serve the restaurants that supported our farm since 2010 but donate 100% of edible produce to those who need it most.
Farm Lot 59 believes in a healthy and just food system that should be accessible to all. We envision a world where all people have access to healthy food and value where it comes from. Future farmers have the tools and knowledge to succeed on our farm or their own. Teachers can incorporate edible education into their classrooms using organic practices. Chefs use the farm-to-table principles promoting locally sourced ingredients, seasonality, and direct purchasing.
We currently rely on grants, donations and the sale of our flowers to cover our operating expenses.