The benefits of growing your own food are vast. It’s an affordable solution to improving your diet and a great way to stay active and get vitamin D. However, not everyone has a yard equipped for a garden. While container gardens are great, sometimes you just want more space. One solution is to seek out a community garden. These gardens range from “victory garden” areas where people grow small plots of vegetables, to large “greening” projects to preserve natural areas. They can also be tiny street beautification planters on urban street corners. Some grow only flowers. Others are nurtured communally and the harvest is shared. They’re a great way to eat fresh, seasonal, local produce. Not to mention, a wonderful way to stay healthy and support your community.
Here in Long Beach, we have a great selection of community gardens where you can grow your own food and get to know fellow gardeners in your community. Here are a few local ones you may want to get involved in.
Three Sisters Community Garden
Three Sisters Community Garden is located in the Zaferia District. It includes 12 member plots and 4 community boxes. Their community agreement includes an annual fee and a commitment to having something planted no later than 21 days after signing up. Additionally, you need to commit to keeping weeds at a minimum and attend 6 assigned workdays per year. They hold regular community events including dinners and youth outreach programs.
Long Beach Community Garden
Long Beach Community Garden’s mission is to provide garden space and support the production of healthy food for families in Long Beach. Additionally, they aim to support sustainable gardening practices. Prospective members need to apply to get their 20’ x 30’ plots and meet various requirements. This includes being a current and ongoing Long Beach resident, paying the annual fee, and performing a minimum of 4 hours of community service annually. Furthermore, they pride themselves on being the largest community garden in the country.
Long Beach Organic
Long Beach Organic is a nonprofit organization that manages eight different gardens within Long Beach. They locate vacant lots within Long Bech and turn them into organic gardens. Afterward, they rent out plots on a 6-month basis. In addition, they donate food to help combat food insecurity and hold workshops on cooking and gardening. People are welcome to become members of the gardens even if they don’t rent a plot. There are various membership levels, volunteer opportunities, and internships. Memberships start at just $25.
The Growing Experience
The Growing Experience is a unique urban farm and community garden at the Carmelitos Public Housing Development in North Long Beach. At one time this area was known as a food desert. A food desert is defined as a place extremely difficult to access fresh produce. However, this group has helped transform the area. They offer locally grown healthy foods to this underserved community. Additionally, they put together community workshops and host community events. The Community Garden Center includes 2.5 acres and has 60 raised garden beds. Groups, individuals, and families are all welcome to apply.
Long Beach Grows
Long Beach Grows was originally known as Unity Farm and has been around for over ten years. Today, this group helps promote community gardens within Long Beach, but they also have a variety of other goals. This includes educating Long Beach residents about healthy lifestyles and empowering food insecure residents to grow their own food.
Cambodian Seniors Gardening Project
This gardening program was started in 2006. Its goal is to use gardening as a way of promoting a healthy and active lifestyle among senior citizens. Long Beach has the largest population of Cambodians in the U.S., so this garden also caters to growing plants native to Cambodia. You can learn more about this program HERE.
The Long Beach Community
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