Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Announcing a new community farm in Long Beach: Unity Farm

Long Beach Grows (aka LBGROWS) is a grassroots organization that advocates for a just and equitable food system that includes food security through urban agriculture. The group is building a network of urban farm co-op sites where people can grow food together while building community. LBGROWS has recently partnered with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach on Atherton Street to use some of their land for their first site. Food grown will be shared among the gardeners and with the homeless and other underprivileged Long Beach residents.

Unity Farm, as it is called, is not your typical community garden. The operative terms are community and co-operation. In a typical community garden, individual garden plots are rented to and tended by individuals on a seasonal basis. Some community gardeners make better use of their alloted land than others. Some community gardeners never even meet the person gardening right next to them. Where is the community in that?

Long Beach Grows’ community farm co-ops promise to be different. Members will work together in teams on land that they all grow together. There will be scheduled work days, scheduled harvest days when crops ready to be picked are divvied up amongst co-op members and the underprivileged of the community, and other scheduled gatherings, celebrations, and fundraisers.

The Farm Coordinator, Steve Passmore, who helped start the farm, says
“We will strive to keep the division of labor as equal and fair as possible, while trying to accommodate the special strengths, interests, and assets that individual members have to offer.”
All members are asked to pledge to uphold and abide by the mission and vision of Long Beach Grows.
  • Organization mission. LBGROWS’ mission is to promote green, healthy, sustainable urban agriculture in Long Beach, CA & other activities that educate, enhance & grow our communities by ensuring & safeguarding local food security.
  • Organization vision/goals. LBGROWS is the first organization of its kind in Long Beach, with a mission to advocate for change & to educate the public on issues of local food security & urban agriculture. The current food system in Long Beach, particularly as it pertains to local food & real food, really caters to the wealthy of our residents. LBGROWS plans to change this. The ultimate goal of LBGROWS is to grow a network of urban farm co-operatives for food production in the heart of urban Long Beach, with at least one community kitchen and urban farm site per city district, where people can grow & harvest real food together while building community & relieving hunger.
The goal is for everyone to work in harmony together as peacefully, joyfully, and stress-free as possible, for the benefit of all.

There will be a modest fee to join Long Beach Grows to farm at The Unity Farm. People will be contacted to join in the order they have signed up on the LBGROWS co-op wait-list. To join, add your name here. Volunteers are also welcome.

More farm co-op sites are in the works. The group is actively seeking other underutilized properties in Long Beach that LBGROWS could transform into productive community farm co-op sites to help relieve hunger in our community.

Youth unloading mulch to prepare a vegetable bed
at Unity Farm.

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You might also be interested in Donna’s other work as Long Beach Urban Agriculture Examiner, National Food Policy Examiner, National Science News Examiner, and founder and director of Long Beach Grows™.

Copyright © 2011 Donna Marykwas; All rights reserved.

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