In this week's episode Lara Hughey and Army Linderborg tell us about their idea for a Public Orchard here in San Pedro.
EPISODE DATE: 4/25/2019
The show notes for this episode are a little different. Lara and Army provided a lot of information about the Green Girl Farms Calendar and upcoming events and even sent a full bio on Lara the founder and operator of Green Girl Farms. I enjoyed reading it so much and it provided a lot more information than we discuss in the show so I thought I'd include it here.
In this episode we do cover some information about the next major project they are pursuing and that is The San Pedro Public Orchard. As some of you might know the Garden Church on 6th Street, the container gardens at CRAFTED, the farm at 14th and Mesa, and the Corner Store Monthly Farmers Market are all beloved Green Girl Farms projects. Lara Hughey is the Mastermind and Master Gardener behind this locally grown food system in San Pedro. If you haven't visited one of her gardens, you may have eaten her produce in a Chori Man creation, or in a dish at the new La Buvette French Bistro on 7th St. For Green Girl's next big endeavor, Lara has teamed up with San Pedro fruit trader and Hello San Pedro repeat guest, Army Linderborg, to apply for a $100,000 LA2050 grant. Together, they want to turn a blighted strip of land at 14th and Beacon into a Public Orchard overlooking the Port. The space can fit 20 fruit bearing trees, so something will always be in season, but they need your vote to make it happen! Voting is open now and closes Monday April 29 at 5 pm. All you need is a phone number or an email address and you can help bring this grant to San Pedro."
Some Q&A's we cover in the today's episode:
What is an LA2050 grant? LA2050 is a community-guided initiative driving and tracking progress toward a sustainable Los Angeles by the year 2050. This year a total of $1,000,000 will be awarded among 10 organizations to implement their proposals. Each organization will receive a total of $100,000 and partnership from LA2050 to support its efforts.
Where will the Public Orchard be located? Just north of the Muller house on Beacon, between 16th and 14th is an unused strip of land too narrow to build a structure. The underutilized site is currently a blighted piece of land choked with weeds and litter, but spectacular views of the port and a central location give it landmark potential.
What will it be? This fenced area, currently referred to as the corral, could become the home of 20 new fruit trees. The orchard will serve as a gathering place to honor and continue San Pedro’s rich culture of food cultivation, as well as give community members the opportunity to supplement groceries by picking their own fruit. If the grant is funded, there will be months of outreach done to gather input and insight from the community before a single tree is planted.
Who's on board? The corral is part of the Muller House land lease with the city. The San Pedro Bay Historical Society, who run the Muller House, are excited about the opportunity to improve the site in this manner. The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council voted unanimously to support the proposal. And Councilman Buscaino's office also supports the project, along with Green Girl Farms tandem grant proposal to the Great Streets Challenge to improve the intersection of 14th, Beacon and Gulch that surrounds the area.
Green Girl Farms Calendar
Weekly Produce Stand @ our location 390 W. 14th St. from 9am to 11am
Wednesdays Monthly Produce Stand on the Second Saturday of the Month @ The Corner Store, located at 1118 W. 37th St. from 10am to 12pm
Volunteer Time: Wednesdays from 8:15am to 11:30am, & The Second Saturday of the month from 7:30am to 9:30am, @ our location 390 W. 14th St.
UPCOMING EVENT: Farm To Table Meets Artisan Chorizo Fundraising Dinner With The Chori-Man. This event is part of Chori-Man Humberto Raygoza’s campaign for Honorary Mayor of San Pedro. We are honored to be providing our fresh locally grown produce for this Dinner. Proceeds to benefit Green Girl Farms and San Pedro Meals On Wheels. Takes Place May 18 at Angel’s Gate Cultural Center, Building H. Starts at 5pm. Tickets: $55
A note from Lara:
My name is Lara Hughey,
I am the founder of Green Girl Farms. I grow food and educate my community in how to grow food. Green Girl Farms is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization in San Pedro.
We are leading the effort to build an environmentally sound and socially just food system in our community.
We’re a volunteer-powered organization with an annual operating budget of less than $20,000.
We create opportunities for the community to engage with growing food and the outdoors.
We are building a local food system in our community.
San Pedro is comprised of many different ethnic groups that all have a tradition of growing food and community together. And that has been lost over the years. We are bringing that tradition back. We grow food in a sustainable manner In empty lots and unused spaces. We make the food available in the communities in which it’s grown through produce stands and donations. We educate the public in ways to grow food in an environmentally friendly manner. We do that through workshops, classes, and special events.
It has been an incredible journey. I moved to San Pedro from New York City in 2008, and I really wanted to be able to grow some of my own food, and, as well to be able to buy fresh, locally grown food. But I moved to an apartment, wasn’t able to grow food, and the local farmer’s market had food that was coming from at least 100 miles away. So I felt this need in the community and tried to fill it. Over the years, I created a preschool garden and a community garden for families with small children, spearheaded an elementary school garden renovation, and become a certified Master Gardener. And at every step of the way, I encountered people who wanted to learn how to do this, and to participate in a garden activity.
In 2015 I founded Green Girl Farms in order to continue to create positive social change through edible gardening, on a larger scale.
We created two public gardens in 2015 that had different purposes. The first garden was a container garden for Crafted at The Port Of Los Angeles that exists in a parking lot. The purpose of this garden was to introduce San Pedro to the idea of locally grown food, and ways that it could be achieved. This is an edible demonstration garden, and consists of 24 watering troughs, which comprise of about 280 square feet of growing space. The key factor of this garden is that it is moveable and its configuration can be changed as needed. We grow over 40 crops a year in this garden. It serves a space for people to rest and enjoy picking some of the ripe fruits and vegetables. It also serves as a workshop space for our organization. We’ve taught the public about several topics related to edible gardening, including basic planning, creating pollinator gardens, and composting.
The second garden we created in 2015 was a different kind of public garden. I was approached to create a church that wasn’t a church, but a garden. Over the next few months, we locked in a location, design, and project scope. The goal was to set up a 6 month pilot project, a pop-up garden, if you will, in an empty lot that would be both an edible garden and a worship & sanctuary space. The project became known as The Garden Church. We successfully set up the original garden in a matter of a few weeks, with a great amount of volunteer participation and officially opened the gates in May 2015.
Over the following two years, Green Girl Farms maintained the edible garden aspect of The Garden Church, as well as set up and maintained the location as Compost Hub for the community. In that time-frame, we diverted over 5 tons of compostables from the waste stream and were able to grow over a thousand pounds of food a year in the 1000 square foot garden. All of the food produced in that project goes back into the community through the free weekly Sunday dinner, and a pay-what-you-can produce stand that is up on Fridays and Sundays. As a Master Gardener, I volunteered over 300 hours at The Garden Church, and was able to educate hundreds of people from all walks of life about many aspects of edible gardening. The Garden Church was originally conceived as a six month pilot project, but has it has literally put down roots, and has become a beloved institution in San Pedro in its own right.
At the end of June of 2017, Green Girl Farms stepped away from The Garden Church to begin growing in a new flagship location only 7 blocks away. It was another empty lot, close to 5000 square feet. There had been a garden in it, but it was overgrown with weeds, and crabgrass, and had acquired lots of detritus over many years. Through the efforts of donors, volunteers, and partner organizations, we were able to clear and begin growing on half the lot. This gave us about 3000 square feet of growing space. In September 2017, we opened our gates to the community with a weekly produce stand, open garden & volunteer time, and workshops. Last year we produced over 1000 lbs of food in 6 months, over half of which was donated to community members, volunteers, and local organizations. The rest was distributed through our weekly produce stand. Since breaking ground, we’ve had over 2000 visitors, and volunteers have contributed nearly 6,000 hours of service. We have provided education and service opportunities to high school and middle school students, both from local schools and home school programs. Classes have ranged from seed starting, integrated pest management, monarch butterfly life cycles, and the importance of compost and worms in the edible garden. Our flagship location is also a compost hub, which means the local community can bring their compostable waste, and the resulting compost goes right back into the ground. We’ve taken in over 2000 lbs of compostables from the community, and composted over 1000 lbs of crop residue generated by the garden.
We work with local restaurants, chefs, and nonprofits to bring local food into new settings and feed more of our community. Our collaborative partners include Chori-Man, La Buvette, NUDA, and San Pedro Meals On Wheels.
A constant refrain that I hear at every garden project we create, goes like this:
“This reminds me of being with my grandmother or grandfather in their garden,” or “my mom has always had a garden like this, and it’s so wonderful to see one here.”
“The food is the best I’ve ever tasted.”
“I love coming here and enjoying the garden.”
“Thank you for doing this.”
All of these visitors and participants are coming away with more than just an armful of super-fresh produce. They are coming away with knowledge, a connection to their past and how food is grown, and an innate joy that you can only get from being outside with nature. These are priceless experiences.
In the next five years, Green Girl Farms intends to have 2 more anchor locations, with stands and more programming. We want to expand our local food web to ensure that San Pedro residents can get fresh local produce somewhere in their community every day of the week, whether its from one of our neighborhood anchor farms, one of our collaborative partners, or their own backyards.
This organization has evolved out of a love of growing food and a love of sharing the knowledge of how to do it, but I didn’t go to school to run a non-profit or an urban farm, and it has been a steep learning curve in how to do both simultaneously. Thankfully, I have had great support from some local organizations - such as The Corner Store, Crafted, The Garden Church, the University of California Master Gardener Program and Enrich LA.
I feel like we are just beginning. Building multiple edible spaces in my community has made me realize that we truly need more of them, in every community. Up until this point, our organization has been focusing on one project at a time, and each successive project has gotten larger in scope, has more moving parts, and needs more support. The struggle for all these projects is to maintain consistency and attract more volunteers. In order for Green Girl Farms to have the maximum impact in empowering our community, we need more knowledge, more collaborations, and more people. And we will achieve these things, because our community and every community should have access to fresh, locally grown food.
Green Girl Farms on Instagram
Green Girl Farm's Facebook Page
Farm To Table Event with The Chori-Man
VOTE HERE FOR THE PUBLIC ORCHARD!