Long Beach was among other U.S. cities including Seattle (which topped the list), Portland, St. Paul, Honolulu, San Jose, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Anchorage, and Louisville.
Nine urban gardens are located throughout Long Beach, where neighbors produce fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs, while satisfying their green thumbs. Long Beach’s urban gardens help foster a green community within the gardens and the neighborhoods they are found in, as well as enhance nutrition through access to local, healthy food. Many of these gardens open their gates to the public for festivals and educational events, and they serve as an example for small-scale, sustainable farming in an urban setting.
“Urban gardens not only enhance nutrition and promote healthy lifestyles, they also provide additional green spaces where neighbors can join together in a communal area,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “I am proud of Long Beach for setting a positive example by embracing this key component to being a sustainable city.”
Three examples of community gardens established in Long Beach this past year include the following:
• The Wrigley Village Garden, 2044 Pacific Ave. Long Beach Organic, a nonprofit organization, has turned this once-vacant lot into a thriving community garden space. The garden is noted to grow anything from sugar cane and lemongrass to sunflowers and tomatoes.
• The Long Beach Community Action Demonstration Garden, Long Beach Boulevard and Spring Street. People who visit this educational “demonstration” garden learn about basic gardening skills so they can grow their own food. The nonprofit Long Beach Community Action Partnership created the garden to show how edible gardening can save money, bring physical and mental wellness, and create a sense of community.
• The Civic Center Edible Garden Project, located within the courtyard of Long Beach Civic Center, helps the community recognize the environmental benefits and natural beauty of native landscaping. This garden was built with sustainable and organic practices and is specifically designed to require less water.
“Urban gardening is the act of gardening within the confines of an urban area,” said Sustainability Coordinator Larry Rich. “Urban gardening is ideal for Long Beach residents who live in apartments, condos or houses without a yard, or anyone who wants to increase their physical and mental well being, develop fresh and healthy eating habits, and reduce their weekly grocery bill by growing your own vegetables.”
The City of Long Beach is looking to expand urban gardens within the community and is designing a streamlined process in an effort for community members and organizations to establish community gardens throughout Long Beach.