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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 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.

Over 3,000 people have either visited our farm or attended an educational program on Farm Lot 59.  Programs run by Farm Lot 59 over the past eight years include:

  • A 22-member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program

  • A flock of 60 animal-welfare approved hens laying 111 dozen eggs per week at peak production

  • Plant a Row for the Hungry – donating 1500 pounds of produce

  • Edible Education and Living Classroom – open to all area schools

  • Plant Donation Program providing over 1,000 plants to Long Beach Organic and other local school and community gardens

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 work closely with Long Beach Fresh continuously and the Good Food Purchasing Policy. 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 is beginning to change local food access in Long Beach.

In 2016 Farm Lot 59 became Certified Naturally Grown after a vigorous inspection meaning we don’t use any synthetic herbicide, pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms.

Now an eight-year-old farm with a committed board and strong support from City leadership.  We are building on that foundation to implement our vision, elevating our educational program to extend the reach of our edible education through teacher training and increased focus on advanced farmer training and the holistic approach to farming and efficiency. We value farming as a career choice and see its importance in the local economy.  And, we believe access to healthy food is a right, and understanding where your food comes from is empowering.

We have a long track record of partnership with community organizations, including:

  • Boy Scouts of America

  • The City of Long Beach

  • Conservation Corps of Long Beach

  • Friends of the LA River

  • Long Beach Organic

  • Long Beach City College

  • Long Beach Tree Planting Program / Port of Long Beach

  • University of California Master Gardeners

  • USDA

  • Wrigley is Going Green

Our farm demonstrates a small-scale model of sustainable agriculture using current best practices with the 2016 USDA-funded high tunnel 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.