Farm Lot 59 ...or is it 57?

Updated: Jul 9

Larry Rich from the Long Beach Office of Sustainability and I have a long relationship. I often refer to him as my lifelong roommate since our projects are next to each other and neither one of us will ever move out. He was one of my original board members and held my hand along the way when I didn't know anything about local politics. I appreciate his patience and guidance in those early years.

Larry's project, Willow Springs Gulch, is a legacy project and I definitely applaud him for saving the open space that surrounds the farm. Previous council members wanted to build a "Field of Dreams" indoor soccer field there. Something giant and regional but the environmental impact report came back too huge to allow that to happen. The wetlands, oil residue, and overall abandonment of the 70 acres were too expensive to remediate. Open space was the only option.

There was community input and a master plan for the whole parcel is out there somewhere in the depts of park & rec. Things have changed a lot since 2010 but also not much at all.

In retrospect, I would have put my small amount of funding in the infrastructure first. It would have eliminated thousands of dollars of theft, vandalism, and heartache. But I didn't know and I was so anxious to get seeds in the ground and grow food for the people.

I had $25,000 to start the farm. It was a grant I received from the Long Beach Community Foundation when Sandy Vandenburg and Jim Worshim were running it. That money was barely enough to move all the stuff from the now-defunct Wrigley Garden and start the farm. I didn't have money to install electricity, irrigation, fences, it was a lot to deal with. Don't forget I was pregnant and still working any and all side gigs I could get. The hustle was real.

The farm needed a name. Larry found a map of the area from 1881, and the best we could figure out was the farm parcel was mapped as "farm lot 59." Of course, after the building and branding were already in place we looked closer at the map and realized number 57 might be more accurate. But it was too late for accuracy...

Farm Lot 59 it is.

This is the second greenhouse we built. The first one was a Harbor Freight kit we moved here from Wrigley Garden. Andy and I rebuilt it and didn't stake it down, we came back the next day and it was in pieces all over the farm. This version I saw online. The idea is to use old windows and piece them all together. Kathleen Irvine gave us a bunch of old windows she had and we built this one. It lasted a while but the irrigation eventually rotted the glazing and we had to rebuild it once again.

Tree People used to give away fruit trees and we had a bunch at WG that we kept in big planter boxes, knowing we had to move. They were one of the first things we planted at Farm Lot 59. Luckily we used to get loads of peaches...