Farm-to-Table Dinner Highlights the Possibilities of Local, Sustainable Food Production

IMG_3360

Photo credit: ThePackedLife.com


Growing Experience Program Manager Jimmy Ng (left), with Primal Alchemy Chef Paul Buchanan (photo credit: ThePackedLife.com)

IMG_3512

Photo credit: ThePackedLife.com

food box

One of the August produce boxes received by CSA subscribers (photo courtesy of the Growing Experience

IMG_3620

Photo credit: ThePackedLife.com

Photo credit: ThePackedLife.comGrowing Experience Program Manager Jimmy Ng (left), with Primal Alchemy Chef Paul Buchanan (photo credit: ThePackedLife.com)Photo credit: ThePackedLife.comSONY DSCOne of the August produce boxes received by CSA subscribers (photo courtesy of the Growing ExperiencePhoto credit: ThePackedLife.com


(Photos courtesy of ThePackedLife.com)

It was a swanky spread featuring dishes prepared largely from food grown right there on that seven-acre food-producing oasis in the middle of Los Angeles County’s biggest housing development, all with the goal of helping urbanites plug into the possibilities that what we eat can be cultivated right here at home.

In the late 1980s and early ’90s, the Carmelitos Public Housing Development was in the news for all the wrong reasons: robbery, gang activity, murder. But it’s a new millennium, and something far better is happening there, in the form of the Growing Experience Urban Farm, a not-for-profit farm/community garden founded in 2009 on the grounds of a former nursery. Operated by the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles and run by three full-time staffers and a fluid rotation of volunteers, five years after its founding the Growing Experience organically and sustainably produces approximately 60 different foods over the course of a year, including not only a variety of fruits and vegetables, but chicken eggs and fish.

“Our mission is to grow food and make it affordable to folks that live in this area who don’t necessarily have access,” says Jimmy Ng, program manager at the Growing Experience, as he walks me through the orchard, the chicken pen, the aquaponics area. No chemical pesticides, Ng says, no synthetic fertilizers, no tilling of the ground (“so we don’t disturb the soil structure”).

It might as well be a little slice of Farm Belt, except that we’re in plain view of the housing development, as well as a senior housing complex. Ng gazes in that direction and laments that even many of the people living there need only walk across the street to procure fresh food, some still go to retailers who cart their produce in from who knows where—if the patrons in question buy produce at all.

“It’s about education,” Ng says, “[about] people knowing what their options are.”

But Ng says things are trending in the right direction. The Growing Experience offers a training program for low-income youth. It hosts a certified farmers market on a weekly basis. It provides a couple of pounds of lettuce every Tuesday to Long Beach City College to sell to students at its food court. Approximately a hundred families subscribe to the Growing Experience’s CSA (community-supported agriculture) program, which affords subscribers a variety of produce grown on the premises at $17 per box. There’s even a community kitchen where jams, juices, pickles, etc., are made—a practice that Ng hopes will lead to a branded line of products.

“Definitely a lot of people are aware and they seek us out now,” Ng reports, “whereas before we really had to do a lot more marketing and PR to put the word out there. Now we’ve stopped doing any time of advertising, [because] people actually come to us. They’re requesting [what the Growing Experience offers] more and more.”

And then there was that swanky dinner, an annual event that Ng says has gotten progressively bigger during its four-year run. It was pricey, with gourmands ponying up $85 apiece. But considering the sumptuousness of the fare, the pleasant novelty of enjoying a bit of farm life in North Long Beach, and the fact that the net proceeds benefitted the Growing Experience mission, it’s doubtful that anyone walked away unsatisfied.

But you didn’t have to be a foodie to appreciate the multiple values—nutritional, environmental, economic—highlighted by the event. And you don’t need to have been there to benefit from what Growing Experience has to offer to you and your community. Because this urban farm isn’t going anywhere.

The Growing Experience Urban Farm is located at 750 Via Carmelitos. Head east on Atlantic Plaza—a little road just north of 46th St. that leads you into a shopping center—turn right on N. Via Veranda, then look for the signs as the road bends to the left. For more information, call 562,984.2917 or go to GrowingExperienceLB.org.

Tags: ,


About the Author

Trapped within in the ironic predicament of wanting to know everything (more or less) while believing it may not be possible really to know anything at all, Greggory Moore is nonetheless dedicated to a life of study, be it of books, people, nature, or that slippery phenomenon we call the self. And from time to time he feels impelled to write a little something. He lives in a historic landmark downtown and holds down a variety of word-related jobs. HIs work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the OC Weekly, The District Weekly, the Long Beach Post, Daily Kos, and GreaterLongBeach.com. His novel THE USE OF REGRET was published in 2011. To be notified when a new Greggory Moore piece is published, send an e-mail to GreadersLB@yahoo.com.



Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑
  • Vote: Tuesday, March 3rd

    Vote: Tuesday, March 3rd
  • Toberman Gala: April 4th

    Toberman Gala: April 4th
  • The Guide to Fine Dining

    The Guide to Fine Dining
  • Calendar

    March 2015
    S M T W T F S
    22 23 24 25 26

    Category: EntertainmentToledo Show

    27

    Category: EntertainmentToledo Show

    Category: CommunityJewelry Making Class

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentSoul Sacrifices

    Category: EntertainmentHell Ride

    28

    Category: EntertainmentKomedy Slam

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentDave Widow and the Line Up

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: EntertainmentCircus of Sin

    1

    Category: Art35th Annual Quilt Show

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    2

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    3

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    4

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: CommunityLittle Squirts

    Category: CommunitySea Club

    5

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: CommunityKlaus Center for the Arts Opening

    6

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: EntertainmentTrio Celeste

    Category: EntertainmentBatala Los Angeles

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentLauren Koval, Michael Ragonese Trio

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    7

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: TheaterThe Penis and Vagina Talk Shows

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: TheaterCirque Mechanics

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentTrio Eclectic

    Category: TheaterThe Penis and Vagina Talk Shows

    8

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentInna Faliks

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentJohn York

    9

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    10

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    11

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentBettman and Halpin

    12

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentBettman and Halpin

    13

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentPaddy Keenan

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    14

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentMusic Under the Guns

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentCash’d Out

    Category: EntertainmentDoug MacLeod CD Release Party

    Category: TheaterNa Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    15

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentDavid Sanborn

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentA Spoonful of Sherman: A Symphonic Concert

    Category: EntertainmentBlues Alive

    16

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    17

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    18

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    19

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    20

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    21

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    22

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    23

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    24

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    25

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    26

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    27

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    28

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    29

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    30

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    31

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    1

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    2

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    3

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    4

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

  • Like Us On Facebook!

  • Take a Trip to Havana

    Take a Trip to Havana
  • Join the RLn Network

    Subscribe Today:


    Options


  • Get Home Delivery!

    Get Home Delivery!
  • Reset The Net: Protect Your Privacy

    Reset The Net: Protect Your Privacy