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Share Your Gardening Story!

Are you an urban gardener? If so, we want to hear your story! Email us at civiccenterediblegarden@gmail.com and we will share your story so that others can be inspired.

Keri Pommerenk, Long Beach Resident

Back & front yard veggie garden and chickens

Chickens4_1We are aspiring urban gardeners for sure and we'd love to share our story with others in Long Beach. We have 2 small kids and we moved into our home off of Los Coyotes and Willow 3 years ago this month. In the short time that we've been here we've planted 19 fruit trees in both the front and back yards. We have 3 raised veggie planter beds in the back yard (80 square feet) and we are in the middle of expanding our veggies to the front yard. We've ripped out the front lawn and it is being replaced with 4 raised veggie beds (128 square feet) and California native landscaping. Our project has been the talk of the neighborhood for several weeks now and everyone is excited to see it completed. In addition to our veggie gardening we started raising organic chickens in October 2009. We have some lovely hens who provide the best eggs you've ever tasted. They too are the talk of the neighborhood and I think I get more joy from seeing the excitement on our neighbors faces when I deliver fresh eggs than from eating them myself. We are blessed to have lots to share and we love how it brings us closer to our neighbors. I would love to inspire others in Long Beach to do what we've done.

Jerry Schaefer, Long Beach Resident

Long Beach Community Garden

What type of edible plants do you grow and where do you grow them?

I grow vegetables, summer and winter crops at the Long Beach Community Garden near El Dorado Park. I grow different types of lettuce year-round at the garden. The other crops are more seasonal. I also grow ollalaberries at the community garden as well as at home. And strawberries as well at the community garden.

Why is growing your own food important to you?

Growing my own food is important for two reasons: health and taste. Salads and greens are an important part of my everyday diet, and all my vegetables are grown without pesticides and the freshness and taste is superb.

What got you interested in urban farming?

I suppose the garden that my mother had when I was growing up influenced me later to have my own garden which I started about 20 years ago, once we moved from an apartment into a house. First I planted some cantaloupe at home, had great success, then rented a plot at the Lakewood Community Garden.

Patrick Kennedy, Long Beach Resident

What type of edible plants do you grow and where do you grow them?

I try to include both edible and pollin-producing plants in my garden. I am always searching my own habits to find what foods I eat most often and what will be most sustaining for health and abundance. That search has brought me to grow cilantro/onions/tomato's/peppers for salsas. Lettus, collards, Chards, sorrel for greens. Radishes/Potatoes/Carrots/garlic for long term storage. Beans for soups. A variety of herbs for flavor enhancements. I've learned to avoid things that require a lot of water or take too long to produce. This makes for too much effort and not enough harvest.

Why is growing your own food important to you?

First, I think it is something that many people are just called to do. I think it is a natural instinct that is suppressed by modern conveniences. Also, as gardeners learn more about their interest, learning to grow vegetables/herbs/fruits is just a natural exstention of the education of growing a garden. And ultimately it is true that the flavor of foods is changing with the mass production of large farming. Home grown food "does" taste better.

What got you interested in urban farming?

Maybe it was paying my first water bill and realizing that if my interest in plants was to continue to thrive I was going to have to figure out a way for the plants to give back. The thrill of watching a Dahlia spring up is very similar to watching the speed of a corn stalk grow, but at the end there is a nice payoff with the corn stalk. And the idea that when I plant a tree it can be an apple tree that will feed me and my loved ones for many years to come, means that tree will be a loved and cared for part of the family. Ultimately, urban farming is about taking control of your life in an area that you can completely improve upon. And you really do become one with the earth beneath your feet again.