Alma Backyard Farms

ABOUT. Alma Backyard Farms was inspired by the voices and ideas shared by juvenile offenders and prisoners eager to transform their lives and communities by "giving back" to the communities they "took from" and were taken away from.  For most people experiencing incarceration, there are few opportunities to see and interact with nature and few opportunities to provide nurture to others.  Yet few are given the opportunities to learn skills and make that possible.  

Alma Backyard Farms has listened to the formerly incarcerated and been inspired by their willingness to reorient their lives as caretakers of community.  Recognizing that Los Angeles is a place where no life or space is wasted, Alma Backyard Farms creates multiple opportunities for women and men who were incarcerated to give back to the health and safety of communities by growing food in and for these communities.  

Rooted in restorative justice and environmental stewardship, Alma Backyard Farms started in 2013 to implement this project of reclaiming lives, repurposing land and reimagining community.  Alma Backyard Farms proposes real solutions to the challenges of California's overcrowded prisons and food injustice in low-income neighborhoods.  Recognizing that no lives or land is to be wasted, Alma Backyard Farms creates opportunities for the previously incarcerated to become agents of health, safety and community.

LOCATIONS

COMPTON. In 2017, Alma Backyard Farms installed its largest urban farm on the property of a church and school.  This space is 1/4 of an acre and has allowed for a three-fold increase in Alma’s capacity to grow food and impact community.  Today, the urban farm in Compton acts as Alma’s hub for its programs.  With a larger urban farm site, Alma Backyard Farms is now poised to grow more food and create more opportunities for formerly incarcerated people, at-risk children and youth, and food insecure families. 

The urban farm in Compton includes 8000 square feet of edible landscape with 36 raised beds, 12 fruit trees, and a 4000 square foot pollinator garden.  In the near future, there will be a farm stand where produce will be shared with the community.

SOUTH LA. In 2015, Alma installed an urban farm at a transitional home providing an opportunity for over 60 formerly incarcerated persons to experience re-entry as a means to “give back” and restore their personal sense of agency.  Alma Backyard Farms transformed a space known to community members as “a dope house” into a productive space that grows food and grows community.  

The urban farm in South Los Angeles includes 2000 square feet of edible landscape with 12 raised beds, 24 fruit trees, 1 chicken coop and a 1000 square foot pollinator garden.

EAST LA. In 2013, Alma installed an urban farm that provided food to 5 families of formerly incarcerated parents and their children as part of an effort to reunify them.  Today, the food grown in this farm continues to benefit all of Alma’s constituents.

The urban farm in East Los Angeles includes 750 square feet of edible landscape with 8 raised beds, 8 fruit trees, and a 450 square foot pollinator garden.

Farm Lot 59

Farm Lot 59 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by Sasha Kanno. With the help of our founding board, local 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 made an agreement with J. Bixby & Co. to develop the American Colony, a 4,000-acre piece of the Rancho Los Cerritos. With a 350-acre town site 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 homes 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 the 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 on a continuing basis 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 farm scape. When farming on a smaller scale one can take pride in the land and show diversity in one’s ecosystem and restore the soil back 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.

Loleta Farm

Hello, I'm Deana!

I'm a mom to two dogs, 18 hens and one Rooster named Maurice. I'm an animal lover, entrepreneur, business owner, always struggling gardener, essential oil fanatic, fine artist and a lover of learning new things. 

I live in Los Angeles, California outside the city with my partner John.  

I'm a bit of an oddity compared to the rest of my generation, but I'm good with that. I believe in hard work, making your own way, personal responsibility, thinking for yourself, and not being afraid of getting your feet dirty. 

Homesteading was my gateway to building a life I love. Once I realized I could create the life I had always wanted, I was hooked! What started with a passion for growing our own food and raising chickens turned into researching the products we were using in our home.

I found out the average person applies about 300 chemicals to their body everyday, and 80 of them are before breakfast. Most are from four sources: soap, makeup, shampoo and hair care products. and the biggest sources in homes are dryer sheets, fabric softener, air freshener plug-ins, and candles. Others are bright blue dish soap, kitchen counter cleaners, and processed foods. Health and safety data only exists for the 15 percent of all the chemicals out there, even though so many are known to cause asthma or endocrine disruptions. Yikes!

I want to tell you there is another way.  Please scroll down below my story and click on one of my videos or read one of my blog posts, and let me know if you are ready to change the way you live your life. 

So, if you stumbled upon my blog looking for advice on building your own organic garden, raising chickens or wanting to know more about essential oils, then you're in the right place. I have devoted the last 18 years learning and creating the best organic food on the planet. 

The Growing Experience Urban Farm

The Growing Experience is an urban farm and community garden located within the Carmelitos Public Housing Development in North Long Beach, California. 

Located in a region that has been recognized as a food desert, The Growing Experience provides access to locally grown, healthy foods in an area that has been traditionally undeserved. Additionally, The Growing Experience provides a variety of community workshops and programs, hosts community events, offers safe green space for recreation, and promotes community building while serving as a model for sustainability. 

Community Services Unlimited

About Us

Community Services Unlimited Inc. (CSU), is a 501c3 established in 1977 and head quartered in South Central Los Angeles. Since then it has created community programs and organizing campaigns like the early Safe Seniors to the more recent Free Medical Screening Program and the most recent From the Ground Up. CSU has also provided fiscal sponsorship and support for many grass roots organizing efforts ranging in diversity from Police Watch, Community in Support of the Gang Truce, and Food Forestry International.

Our Mission

Our mission is to foster the creation of communities actively working to address the inequalities and systemic barriers that make sustainable communities and self-reliant life-styles unattainable. We are committed to supporting and creating justice-driven community-based programs and educational initiatives, which seek to foster dialogue, and create awareness and critical consciousness. We envision equitable, healthful and sustainable communities that are self-reliant, inter-relating and where every individual has the support and resources needed to develop to their fullest capacity.

Our Vision

We envision equitable, healthful and sustainable communities that are self-reliant, inter-relating and where every individual has the support and resources needed to develop to their fullest capacity.

The Growing Club | SGV

The Growing Club, based in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles, gathers diverse individuals and communities together to nourish the common well being of people and our planet.

Join our group of pro-activists as we revive the power of people’s hands to weave humanity into nature’s web of generosity. Learn and explore with us as we bring health and resilience back to our urban ecosystem, as we ground our community in healthy soil, nutritious food, and human connection. Come meet us for one of our upcoming hands-on workshops, watch a few of our popular educational & how-to videos, visit one our three ecological demonstration gardens, or apply for LA’s only Urban Farmer Training Program.

 

Local Roots Farms | Vernon, CA

We design, build, deploy and operate the world’s most productive indoor farming solutions. We believe the key to a more sustainable future requires eliminating supply-chain risks and undoing the commoditization of the food industry. That’s why our Local Roots Family is building a distributed network of cutting-edge farms throughout the world to grow the freshest, healthiest food possible.

 

The Ron Finley Project

BRINGING CULTURE & COMMUNITY TOGETHER

Ron envisions a world where gardening is gangsta, where cool kids know their nutrition and where communities embrace the act of growing, knowing and sharing the best of the earth’s fresh-grown food.

Ron is realizing his vision for community gardening and rejuvenation. Let’s grow this seed of urban gangsta gardening into a school of nourishment and change. Help spread his dream of edible gardens, one city at a time.

It’s time for Americans to learn to transform food deserts to food forests. Help them learn to regenerate their lands into creative business models. Let’s make Ron’s philosophy mushroom across the country, and the world.

In part of this effort, Ron is planning to build an urban garden in South Central LA that will serve as an example of a well-balanced, fruit-and-veggie oasis  called “HQ”. Inspired by the idea of turning unused space such as parkways and vacant lots into fruitful endeavors, this garden and gathering place will be a community hub, where people learn about nutrition and join together to plant, work and unwind.

HQ will create a myriad of jobs for local residents, and this plot of land will be a self-sufficient ecosystem of gardening, education, cooking, business learning and management. The community will get their hands dirty together, shovel together, work together and be healthy together.

Moonwater Farm | Compton, CA

Moonwater Farm is an urban microfarm in Compton, CA, providing access for youth and residents of South Los Angeles to organic farming, livestock raising and healthy food preparation and preservation. We are interested in re-establishing connections to homesteading history and developing opportunities for learning, training and potentially employment in the food systems of Los Angeles.

We invite you to come visit! Teachers or families - we offer workshops on a wide range of subject matter that creates hands-on opportunities, engaging learners of any age. We do farm tours that focus on practical food growing, making and preserving as well as livestock care and maintenance. Use our contact page to reach out and plan your field trip.

Shemesh Organic Farm | Malibu, CA

At the Shemesh Organic Farm, we teach about the connection between Judaism, Israel, nature, and agriculture through hands-on organic farming, gardening, harvesting, and composting. The farm is also model for Jewish social and environmental responsibility – the harvested fruits and vegetables are used in our outdoor cooking workshops, as ingredients in meals in our dining hall, and donated to SOVA, the kosher food pantry.

The farm consists of:

Throughout the year, the Shemesh Organic Farm is open to the community for field trips and retreats. During the summer, hundreds of Camp JCA Shalom campers enjoy the farm experience. To read more about our farm, please click here.

To read Marla’s story and a full description of activities available at the garden, please click here.

To donate to the Marla Bennett Israel Discovery Center and Garden please click here »

To book your field trip or service day or for more info please contact Bill Kaplan at (818) 889-5500 ext. 108 or e-mail bill@shalominstitute.com.

"One day, Honi the Circle Maker was walking on the road and saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked the man, “How long will it take for this tree to bear fruit?” The man replied, “Seventy years.” Honi then asked the man, “And do you think you will live another seventy years and eat the fruit of this tree? “The man answered, “Perhaps not. However, when I was born into this world, I found many carob trees planted by my father and grandfather. Just as they planted trees for me, I am planting trees for my children and grandchildren so they will be able to eat the fruit of these trees.”

Source: https://shalominstitute.com/our-services/s...

Earthworks Farm | El Monte

Earthworks Farm is a 4.9-acre work-training and educational urban farm located in the beautiful Whittier Narrows Recreational Area, next to South El Monte, and east of downtown Los Angeles. Earthworks Farm facilitates multiple education programs benefitting the surrounding communities.

These programs include workshops in organic farming, farm-to-school education, Harvest Tours, CSA, Farm-to-Table and volunteer opportunities. Earthworks Farm uses organic farming practices and grows a diverse array of crops.

Earthworks Farm is a San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps (SGVCC) program, and provides to local, disadvantaged youth through the Healthy Harvesters program hands-on work skills and job training in organic farming. Furthermore, Earthworks Farm strives to reach out to local schools and community places to teach on-site organic farming practices.

The mission of Earthworks Farm is to grow organic produce, promote local and sustainable agriculture, teach organic farming to community members and support a lifestyle of healthy eating and active living.

Earthworks Farm encourages healthy relationships between people, their food supply, and the land from which it grows. Hence, ongoing educational programs and volunteer opportunities are provided to fellow gardeners to learn more about basic organic farming practices.

Farm LA

Farm LA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing underutilized lots in Los Angeles communities for solar and agricultural farms. With your help, we can acquire vacant properties and turn them into farms that grow food for community distribution, or solar farms to help Los Angeles generate its water and energy from renewable sources. We want to create a cultural awareness and appreciation for community gardening, healthy eating and sustainable energy.

LA Green Grounds

LA Green Grounds is a grassroots organization of volunteers dedicated to working with residents of South Los Angeles, California to convert their front lawns and parkways into edible landscapes and urban farms. 

Residents host a garden "Dig-in" when this work happens.  Inviting family, friends, neighbors, and volunteers to participate, creates a sense of community.  Everyone learns how to convert lawns into edible landscapes that encourage and inspire neighborhoods to" grow their own". 

We work closely with our garden recipients to guide them through each growing season and provide ongoing support through teaching sustainable practices and offering wellness activities. 

We like to think of LA Green Grounds as a way of life.  Our mission is to empower South LA's communities and beyond, one garden at a time. 

Started in 2010 by Florence Nishida, Vanessa Voblis and Ron Finley who has since moved to pursue the Ron Finley Project.

As of the end of 2013, 27 edible gardens have been installed.

Farmscape

Farmscape is the largest urban farming venture in California. Our mission is to connect city dwellers with fresh, organic produce through a network of urban farms, while creating living wage jobs for the new generation of farmers.

To date, we have installed over 700 urban farms and currently maintain more than 300 of those plots.

Interested in joining the team? You can apply here.

GrowGood | Bell, CA

Founded in 2011, GrowGood, Inc., is a Los Angeles-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, creating urban agricultural programs to empower people and transform communities. GrowGood provides fresh produce and opportunities through our 1.5-acre farm in Bell, Calif., just a few miles from downtown Los Angeles. We grow thousands of pounds of vegetables and fruit that become part of more than 6,000 meals served each week at the Salvation Army's Bell Shelter. Working with the shelter's staff, we operate a paid job training program for residents and a "Food for Life" skills series of classes. Shelter clients also have access to the peace and healing aspects of being in the garden and among our hundreds of California native plants.

Cottonwood Urban Farm | Panorama City

In the winter of 2012, educator and LA native Elliott Kuhn began converting a dusty, vacant plot in Panorama City into a highly productive urban farm. Nestled in the basin of the Tujunga Wash, Cottonwood Urban Farm (CUF) uses creative growing techniques (season extension, intercropping, succession planting) to cultivate a variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs without the use of any large scale commercial farming equipment.

CUF is currently in a transformational phase of becoming a boutique agricultural enterprise that provides a reliable source of locally grown produce to serve the needs of restaurants, chefs and community members concerned with sustainability. With a deep connection to community, education, and ecology, CUF places social responsibility first and has an ongoing contract with a local substance abuse program for youth. The program provides participants with a 10-week ecology course and horticulture therapy through work at the farm.